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Programmed cell death protein 1 axis blockade in locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck: Neoadjuvant and adjuvant approaches

  • Ioannis A. Vathiotis
    Affiliations
    Department of Medical Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

    Section of Medical Oncology, Third Department of Internal Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
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  • Jennifer M. Johnson
    Affiliations
    Department of Medical Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

    Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Philadelphia, PA, USA
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  • Adam Luginbuhl
    Affiliations
    Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Philadelphia, PA, USA
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  • David Cognetti
    Affiliations
    Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Philadelphia, PA, USA
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  • Joseph Curry
    Affiliations
    Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Philadelphia, PA, USA
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  • Athanassios Argiris
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: Department of Medical Oncology, Thomas Jefferson University, 1025 Walnut Street, Suite 700, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
    Affiliations
    Department of Medical Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA
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      Highlights

      • Several trials have assessed PD-1 axis inhibition in the curative setting of patients with LA SCCHN.
      • Combinatorial approaches with dual immune checkpoint blockade or the addition of chemotherapy show increased antitumor activity.
      • There are currently no universal scoring criteria to define response or predictive biomarkers.

      Abstract

      Immunotherapy and in particular programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) inhibitors have been applied not only in the management of recurrent or metastatic disease but also as component of potentially curative treatment for many solid tumors. The incorporation of immunotherapy as neoadjuvant and /or adjuvant therapy in the treatment paradigm of locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) is appealing with the goals of enhancing antitumor efficacy and, at the same time, reduce toxicity. This review analyzes the rationale for employing immunotherapy in the neoadjuvant and adjuvant settings, reviews the results of relevant clinical trials, and examines the potential benefits and caveats of neoadjuvant and/or adjuvant approaches in patients with SCCHN.

      Keywords

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