Overall survival for patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) has not improved appreciably over the past few decades. Because standard treatments have not controlled this disease with sufficiently high success rates, novel therapeutic approaches, such as immunotherapy, are under investigation. Cancer immunotherapy involves various techniques used to expand and activate the immune system to control tumor growth in vivo; to date, clinical evaluation has demonstrated low toxicity. An emerging form of SCCHN immunotherapy involves the use of antibodies that target growth factor receptors (where immune activation appears to enhance tumor lysis), resulting in improved clinical outcome. So far, immunotherapy appears to have the most applicability after other therapeutic interventions; however, its vast potential clinical value has yet to be fully explored. This article reviews immunotherapeutic strategies currently in clinical trials or under development for patients with SCCHN.
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View details for PubMedID 18377830