Title
Recurrent head and neck cancer: current treatment and future prospects Recurrent head and neck cancer: current treatment and future prospects
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Publication type
article
Publication
Source (journal)
Expert review of anticancer therapy
Volume/pages
8(2008) :3 , p. 375-391
ISI
000258836800015
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Recurrent and metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck still carries a poor prognosis. Response rates with combination chemotherapy regimens are generally higher than those observed with single-agent chemotherapy. However, this did not translate into an overall survival benefit, not in even a single randomized trial. As none of the combination chemotherapy regimens demonstrated an overall survival benefit when compared with single-agent methotrexate, cisplatin or 5-fluorouracil, the use of combination chemotherapy outside clinical trials is usually restricted to younger patients with a good performance status and with symptomatic disease who require prompt symptom relief. After decades without real progress, a recent randomized trial showed that adding cetuximab, the first clinically available EGF receptor-directed monoclonal antibody, to a standard chemotherapy regimen (platinum/5-fluorouracil), led to an important survival benefit. In addition, the response rate nearly doubled with this approach, which has great promise for the treatment of symptomatic disease. There is now a plethora of targeted therapies in various stages of preclinical and clinical development. The next challenge will be to sort out which of them have a clinically meaningful activity and find out how to incorporate them into existing treatment regimens.
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