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Br J Cancer. 2005 Apr 25;92(8):1341-8.

State-of-the-art management of locally advanced head and neck cancer.

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Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology, Pritzker School of Medicine, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637-1470, USA.


During the past 20 years, treatments for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) have changed dramatically owing largely to the advent of novel approaches such as combined modality therapy as well as improvements in surgical and radiotherapeutic techniques. Locally advanced disease in particular, which engendered very high recurrence and mortality rates, is now associated with long-term disease-free survival in the majority of cases. This article will focus on locally advanced HNSCC, which frequently remains a clinical challenge, review state-of-the-art therapy, and introduce promising novel therapies. The field continues to evolve rapidly with new evidence during the past year clearly establishing the benefit of adjuvant chemoradiotherapy (CRT), as well as early evidence showing improved survival with the use of an epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor in combination with radiotherapy. There are varied regimens in use for patients with locally advanced disease, but at the same time the multitude of options can plague the clinician when trying to select the most appropriate one. This article will attempt to put the various approaches into perspective and propose an evidence-based treatment algorithm.

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