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Onkologie 23. Jänner 2015

Post ASCO update 2014: head and neck cancer

The aim of this short review is to summarize some of the most important abstracts relating to the field of head and neck cancer presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting 2014. An Italian study group presented the first randomized phase III trial showing improved survival for patients with locally advanced squamous carcinoma of the head and neck using induction chemotherapy as an add-on to definitive local chemoradiotherapy or radiotherapy plus cetuximab. As these data are in contrast to already published trials and many questions around this treatment strategy remain unanswered, the definitive place of sequential therapies within the treatment algorithms remains to be defined. With the phase Ib data on the therapeutic efficacy of the anti-PD-1 antibody pembrolizumab released at the ASCO meeting we now for the first time have clinical evidence that modern immunotherapeutic strategies are worth studying in head and neck cancer. Finally, the phase III SELECT trial establishing lenvatinib as another therapeutic option in the treatment of radioiodine-refractory thyroid cancer will be discussed. In this study the experimental compound was shown to improve response rate and progression free survival with an acceptable toxicity profile.

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