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.