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Cancers 2019, 11(4), 472; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11040472

Targeted Therapies and Immune-Checkpoint Inhibition in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Where Do We Stand Today and Where to Go?

1
Department of Radiation Oncology, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, University of Frankfurt, 60590 Frankfurt, Germany
2
Frankfurt Cancer Institute (FCI), Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, University of Frankfurt, 60590 Frankfurt, Germany
3
German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
4
German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), Partner Site: Frankfurt a. M., Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, University of Frankfurt, 60590 Frankfurt, Germany
5
Department of Medicine, Hematology/Oncology, University Cancer Center Frankfurt (UCT), Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, University of Frankfurt, 60590 Frankfurt, Germany
6
Department of Radiation Oncology, Rämistrasse 100, University Hospital Zurich, 8091 Zürich, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 March 2019 / Revised: 28 March 2019 / Accepted: 1 April 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Targeting Head and Neck Cancer)
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Abstract

With an increased understanding of the tumor biology of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN), targeted therapies have found their way into the clinical treatment routines against this entity. Nevertheless, to date platinum-based cytostatic agents remain the first line choice and targeting the epidermal growth factor-receptor (EGFR) with combined cetuximab and radiation therapy remains the only targeted therapy approved in the curative setting. Investigation of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI), such as antibodies targeting programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and its ligand PD-L1, resulted in a change of paradigms in oncology and in the first approval of new drugs for treating SCCHN. Nivolumab and pembrolizumab, two anti-PD-1 antibodies, were the first agents shown to improve overall survival for patients with metastatic/recurrent tumors in recent years. Currently, several clinical trials investigate the role of ICI in different therapeutic settings. A robust set of biomarkers will be an inevitable tool for future individualized treatment approaches including radiation dose de-escalation and escalation strategies. This review aims to summarize achieved goals, the current status and future perspectives regarding targeted therapies and ICI in the management of SCCHN. View Full-Text
Keywords: immune-checkpoint inhibition; targeted therapy; head and neck cancer; EGFR; mTOR; TKI immune-checkpoint inhibition; targeted therapy; head and neck cancer; EGFR; mTOR; TKI
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von der Grün, J.; Rödel, F.; Brandts, C.; Fokas, E.; Guckenberger, M.; Rödel, C.; Balermpas, P. Targeted Therapies and Immune-Checkpoint Inhibition in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Where Do We Stand Today and Where to Go? Cancers 2019, 11, 472.

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