ESMO 2017 Highlights in Head and Neck Cancer: Spotlight on Immunotherapy

Speaker: Marco Merlano

Marco Merlano explains that head and neck cancer remains an interesting field of investigation for immunotherapy because these tumours have high mutational burden. Among all of the studies presented in Madrid, two results deserve more attention.

Marco Merlano explains that head and neck cancer remains an interesting field of investigation for immunotherapy because these tumours have high mutational burden. Among all of the studies presented in Madrid, two results deserve more attention.

Robert Haddad presented the results of the subgroup of patients treated beyond progression from the analysis of the Checkmate 141 study. He explains that nivolumab has been able to reduce tumour size even in patients who were already treated with the drug. It shows that treatment beyond progression can be considered in selected patients to improve survival.

The SCORES study is a completely novel approach targeting both the immune check points and the tumour microenvironment. Ezra Cohen explains that the idea of combining different immune modulators is to improve the efficacy of anti-PD(L)-1 that would benefit the patients more than the use of single agents. The results from this study suggest that the combination of a PD-L1 antagonist with an agent targeting the tumour microenvironment (STATi) heightens the effect of the anti-PD(L)-1 Antibody and is more effective in the highly immuno-suppressive tumour microenvironment. Better results, up to 30% response rate, were obtained in PD-L1-treatment-naïve patients.

Abstracts

  • 1043O - Treatment Beyond Progression With Nivolumab in Patients With Recurrent or Metastatic (R/M) Squamous cell carcinoma of the Head and Neck (SCCHN) in the Phase 3 Checkmate 141 Study: A Biomarker Analysis and Updated Clinical Outcomes
  • 1135O - Phase 1b/2 Study (SCORES) Assessing Safety, Tolerability, and Preliminary Anti-tumor Activity of Durvalumab Plus AZD9150 or AZD5069 in Patients With Advanced Solid Malignancies and Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck (SCCHN)

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