Recurrent and metastatic (R/M) head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) has poor survival rates. Immunotherapy is the standard of care for R/M HNSCC, but objective responses occur in a minority of patients. Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists promote antitumor immune responses and have been explored in clinical trials.A search for clinical trials using TLR agonists in HNSCC was performed under PRISMA guidelines. Data on patient characteristics, safety, and efficacy were collected and analyzed.Three phase 1b trials with 40 patients and three phase 2 trials with 352 patients studying TLR8 and TLR9 agonists in combination with other treatment regimens for HNSCC were included. In phase 2 trials, there was no significant change in the objective response rate (RR = 1.13, CI 0.80-1.60) or association with increased grade 3+ adverse events (RR = 0.91, CI 0.76-1.11) associated with TLR agonist use.TLR agonists do not appear to provide additional clinical benefits or increase adverse events in the treatment of HNSCC. Given these results across multiple clinical trials and drug regimens, it is unlikely that additional trials of TLR agonists will demonstrate clinical benefits in HNSCC.
View details for DOI 10.3390/cancers15174386
View details for PubMedID 37686661