Immunotherapy for head and neck cancer patients: shifting the balance

A.W. Turksma, B.J.M. Braakhuis, E. Bloemena, C.J.L.M. Meijer, C.R. Leemans, E. Hooijberg

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma is the sixth most common cancer in the western world. Over the last few decades little improvement has been made to increase the relatively low 5-year survival rate. This calls for novel and improved therapies. Here, we describe opportunities in immunotherapy for head and neck cancer patients and hurdles yet to be overcome. Viruses are involved in a subset of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cases. The incidence of HPV-related head and neck cancer is increasing and is a distinctly different disease from other head and neck carcinomas. Virus-induced tumors express viral antigens that are good targets for immunotherapeutic treatment options. The type of immunotherapeutic treatment, either active or passive, should be selected depending on the HPV status of the tumor and the immune status of the patient.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-61
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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