, Volume 269, Issue 10, pp 2157-2167
Date: 22 Mar 2012

Current treatment options for recurrent/metastatic head and neck cancer: a post-ASCO 2011 update and review of last year’s literature

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The majority of patients with a squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck present with locally advanced tumors. The first-line treatment of locally advanced tumor stages consists of a combined modality management. Despite these aggressive protocols, many patients develop locoregional recurrences or metastasis and place particularly high demands on the interdisciplinary treatment team. Treatment with a curative intent must be differentiated from a palliative one. In addition to prior treatment, resectability, age and performance status, patient wishes must be taken into consideration in treatment planning, especially considering that most therapies offer little to no overall survival benefit. Salvage surgery, chemo- and target therapies, and reirradiation are head and neck surgeon’s and radiooncologist’s weapons in the fight against these strong opponents. This review focuses on publications and meeting news from last year and reviews the current status of the clinical application of each treatment modality in recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer.

T. Kurzweg and N. Möckelmann contributed equally to this work and share the first authorship.