Combining Radiotherapy and Immunotherapy in Head and Neck Cancer

Juliana Runnels, Julie R. Bloom, Kristin Hsieh, Daniel R. Dickstein, Yuhao Shi, Brianna M. Jones, Eric J. Lehrer, Richard L. Bakst

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality globally. Despite significant advances in well-established treatment techniques, prognosis for advanced-stage HNSCC remains poor. Recent, accumulating evidence supports a role for immunotherapy in HNSCC treatment. Radiation therapy (RT), a standard treatment option for HNSCC, has immunomodulatory and immunostimulatory effects that may enhance the efficacy of immunotherapy. In several cancer types, combining RT and immunotherapy has been shown to improve tumor response rates, increase survival, and reduce toxicity compared to traditional chemotherapy and radiation therapy. This review provides a timely overview of the current knowledge on the use of RT and immunotherapy for treating HNSCC. It highlights the potential advantages of combining these therapies, such as improved tumor response rates, increased survival, and reduced toxicity. The review also discusses the challenges that need to be addressed when redefining the standard of care in HNSCC, and proposes further research to optimize treatment combinations, minimize radiation-induced toxicity, and identify suitable patient populations for treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2097
JournalBiomedicines
Volume11
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Keywords

  • head and neck cancer squamous cell cancer
  • immunotherapy
  • radiation therapy

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