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Onkologie 17. Juni 2010

Head and neck cancer: a step forward

Head and neck cancers have for a long time been orphan cancers for any trials of individualized treatment, at least in part because the number of active cytotoxic drugs has been for a long time rather restricted. Histology did not influence treatment modality and the use of particular cytotoxic drugs. Undifferentiated carcinoma of the nasopharynx was the first tumour type to enhance investigations in individualized treatment, as regards to choice of cytotoxic drugs and combinations of chemo and radiotherapy. Recently the HPV16/18 positive carcinoma of the oropharynx has arisen as a topic for individualized approach. The biologicals are relatively late newcomers in the arsenal of drugs available for head and neck cancer. The same statement is related to research of possible targets and thus investigations of subpopulations that might benefit from a particular drug or a particular pathway inhibition. Individualized drug treatment in head and neck cancer appears to be at its promising beginnings.

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