Chemotherapy has historically been the treatment for advanced head and neck cancer, but survival has not improved significantly and response rates have remained low and short, according to Nooshin Hashemi, MD, of the University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute.
In this video, Hashemi discusses the effects of immunotherapy as a treatment option for patients with recurrent and advanced head and neck cancer.
She briefly highlights results of a randomized study presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting that demonstrated nivolumab (Opdivo, Bristol-Myers Squibb) against chemotherapy of choice improved overall survival at 1 year from 16% to more than 30%.
Hashemi also highlights an additional study presented at the meeting that demonstrated pembrolizumab (Keytruda, Merck) conferred clinically significant antitumor activity in patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer.
She also mentions that there are many other studies in development that are exploring combination and single-agent therapy with or without chemotherapy.
“We’re very optimistic [that] very soon we’ll have another approved option for our patients with head and neck cancer,” she said.