Article Abstract

Immunotherapy in head and neck cancer

Authors: Xuemei Ye, Carrie Costantini


Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) comprise a diverse group of malignancies including tumors caused by tobacco and alcohol as well as an increasing number of human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancers. There has been recent improved understanding on how HNSCC develops by evading the immune system. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently granted accelerated approval to the checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab for the treatment of recurrent or metastatic HNSCC. We provide a comprehensive review of immune escape mechanism in HNSCC and latest developments in immunotherapy in HNSCC with a focus on checkpoint inhibitors, therapeutic cancer vaccines, and adoptive cellular therapies.