NEW YORK — Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD, director of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, spoke at HemOnc Today New York about management of HPV-positive oropharynx cancer.
Incidence of this subtype of head and neck cancer has increased about 5% annually for the past 20 to 30 years, Ferris said.
Ferris focused on whether it is possible to de-intensify treatment for these patients and, if so, when deintensification of radiation dose is appropriate. He also addressed whether cetuximab (Erbitux, Eli Lilly) could be used instead of cisplatin chemotherapy, as well as the potential role of immunotherapy.
“The world is changing with this new HPV-positive subset,” Ferris told HemOnc Today. “Many clinical trials have yet to read out whether it is safe to de-intensify. Also, it has gotten more complicated — but wonderfully so — because we have immunotherapy, which may be a more rational way to de-intensify for a virus-induced cancer.”
Disclosure: Ferris reports consultant/advisory roles with, research funding from or clinical trial roles with Amgen, AstraZeneca, Bain Capital Life Sciences, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, EMD Serono, Iovance Biotherapeutics, Merck, Oncorus Inc., Ono Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., Pfizer, Pharmaceutical Product Development LLC, Regeneron, Tesaro, TTMS and VentiRx Pharmaceuticals.