Introduction to Head and Neck Cancer
Squamous cell cancers of the head and neck (HNSCC) comprise a diverse group of malignancies that include tobacco-related tumors in addition to an increasing number of human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancers. HPV-associated oropharynx cancer encompasses a distinct biological and clinical entity; it has a more favorable prognosis and may require less intensive treatment. The majority of HNSCC patients present with locally advanced disease for which multimodality therapeutic approach is employed. Despite advances in multimodality treatment, the 5-year progression-free survival rate of patients with HPV-negative locally advanced HNSCC does not exceed 40–50%, and survival rates for recurrent or metastatic (R/M) disease remain very dismal.
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