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      New developments in the management of head and neck cancer – impact of pembrolizumab

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          Abstract

          Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), a heterogeneous group of upper aerodigestive tract malignancies, is the seventh most common cancer worldwide. Tobacco use and alcohol consumption were the most identified risk factors of HNSCC. However, human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted infection, has been determined as another primary cause of HNSCC. Early-stage disease is treated with surgery or radiotherapy. Recurrent or metastatic HNSCC is associated with poor prognosis with a median overall survival of 10 months. The EXTREME protocol is commonly used in first-line setting. Recently, pembrolizumab, an anti-programmed death-1 agent, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck with disease progression on or after a platinum-based therapy. It demonstrated a durable objective response rate with a good safety profile and quality of life. Many ongoing trials are evaluating the use of pembrolizumab for the treatment of HNSCC in various indications such as adjuvant and neoadjuvant setting, maintenance and recurrent disease, alone or in combination with chemotherapy, radiation and targeted therapy. Finding those biomarkers predictive of response to immune checkpoints inhibitors has been a major concern. However, markers have been identified, such as PD-L1 expression, human papilloma virus infection, interferon-γ signature score, microsatellite instability and neoantigen production.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Smoking and drinking in relation to oral and pharyngeal cancer.

          A case-control study of oral and pharyngeal cancer conducted in four areas of the United States provided information on the tobacco and alcohol use of 1114 patients and 1268 population-based controls. Because of the large study size, it could be shown that the risks of these cancers among nondrinkers increased with amount smoked, and conversely that the risks among nonsmokers increased with the level of alcohol intake. Among consumers of both products, risks of oropharyngeal cancer tended to combine more in a multiplicative than additive fashion and were increased more than 35-fold among those who consumed two or more packs of cigarettes and more than four alcoholic drinks/day. Cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoking were separately implicated, although it was shown for the first time that risk was not as high among male lifelong filter cigarette smokers. Cessation of smoking was associated with a sharply reduced risk of this cancer, with no excess detected among those having quit for 10 or more years, suggesting that smoking affects primarily a late stage in the process of oropharyngeal carcinogenesis. The risks varied by type of alcoholic beverage, being higher among those consuming hard liquor or beer than wine. The relative risk patterns were generally similar among whites and blacks, and among males and females, and showed little difference when oral and pharyngeal cancers were analyzed separately. From calculations of attributable risk, we estimate that tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking combine to account for approximately three-fourths of all oral and pharyngeal cancers in the United States.
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            Antitumor Activity of Pembrolizumab in Biomarker-Unselected Patients With Recurrent and/or Metastatic Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Results From the Phase Ib KEYNOTE-012 Expansion Cohort

            Purpose Treatment with pembrolizumab, an anti–programmed death-1 antibody, at 10 mg/kg administered once every 2 weeks, displayed durable antitumor activity in programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) –positive recurrent and/or metastatic (R/M) head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) in the KEYNOTE-012 trial. Results from the expansion cohort, in which patients with HNSCC, irrespective of biomarker status, received a fixed dose of pembrolizumab at a less frequent dosing schedule, are reported. Patients and Methods Patients with R/M HNSCC, irrespective of PD-L1 or human papillomavirus status, received pembrolizumab 200 mg intravenously once every 3 weeks. Imaging was performed every 8 weeks. Primary end points were overall response rate (ORR) per central imaging vendor (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors v1.1) and safety. Secondary end points included progression-free survival, overall survival, and association of response and PD-L1 expression. Patients who received one or more doses of pembrolizumab were included in analyses. Results Of 132 patients enrolled, median age was 60 years (range, 25 to 84 years), 83% were male, and 57% received two or more lines of therapy for R/M disease. ORR was 18% (95% CI, 12 to 26) by central imaging vendor and 20% (95% CI, 13 to 28) by investigator review. Median duration of response was not reached (range, ≥ 2 to ≥ 11 months). Six-month progression-free survival and overall survival rates were 23% and 59%, respectively. By using tumor and immune cells, a statistically significant increase in ORR was observed for PD-L1–positive versus –negative patients (22% v 4%; P = .021). Treatment-related adverse events of any grade and grade ≥ 3 events occurred in 62% and 9% of patients, respectively. Conclusion Fixed-dose pembrolizumab 200 mg administered once every 3 weeks was well tolerated and yielded a clinically meaningful ORR with evidence of durable responses, which supports further development of this regimen in patients with advanced HNSCC.
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              American Cancer Society Head and Neck Cancer Survivorship Care Guideline.

              Answer questions and earn CME/CNE The American Cancer Society Head and Neck Cancer Survivorship Care Guideline was developed to assist primary care clinicians and other health practitioners with the care of head and neck cancer survivors, including monitoring for recurrence, screening for second primary cancers, assessment and management of long-term and late effects, health promotion, and care coordination. A systematic review of the literature was conducted using PubMed through April 2015, and a multidisciplinary expert workgroup with expertise in primary care, dentistry, surgical oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, clinical psychology, speech-language pathology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, the patient perspective, and nursing was assembled. While the guideline is based on a systematic review of the current literature, most evidence is not sufficient to warrant a strong recommendation. Therefore, recommendations should be viewed as consensus-based management strategies for assisting patients with physical and psychosocial effects of head and neck cancer and its treatment. CA Cancer J Clin 2016;66:203-239. © 2016 American Cancer Society.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-6336
                1178-203X
                2018
                19 February 2018
                : 14
                : 295-303
                Affiliations
                Oncology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Saint Joseph University, Beirut, Lebanon
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Hampig Raphaël Kourie, Unité de Génétique Médicale, Faculty of Medicine, Saint Joseph University, Damascus Street, 11-5067 Riad El-Solh, Beirut 1107-2180, Lebanon, Tel +961 332 1899, Email hampig.kourie@ 123456hotmail.com
                Article
                tcrm-14-295
                10.2147/TCRM.S125059
                5822846
                © 2018 Saleh et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Categories
                Review

                Medicine

                immunotherapy, biomarkers, pharmacokinetics, pd-1/pd-l1 inhibitors, epidemiology, hpv

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