Advances in the systemic treatment of head and neck cancers

Specenier, Pol; Vermorken, Jan B

Current Opinion in Oncology:
doi: 10.1097/CCO.0b013e3283376e15
Head and neck: Edited by Ahmad Awada
Abstract

Purpose of review: To summarize the recent literature on the treatment of recurrent and metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

Recent findings: Multiple targeted therapies and novel combinations of chemotherapeutic agents were tested.

Summary: In a large randomized phase III trial, the addition of cetuximab to platin-based chemotherapy led to a significant prolongation of overall survival. The combination of cetuximab and platin/5-fluorouracil should be considered the current standard first-line regimen. In contrast, the results with oral tyrosine kinase inhibitors and other targeted agents have been disappointing thus far.

Author Information

Antwerp University Hospital, Department of Oncology, Wilrijkstraat 10, 2650 Edegem, Belgium

Correspondence to Pol Specenier, Antwerp University Hospital, Department of Oncology, Wilrijkstraat 10, 2650 Edegem, Belgium E-mail: pol.specenier@uza.be

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.