Current therapies for HNC: why is immunotherapy not yet in the forefront?

Despite substantial, even impressive, recent advances in the detection and therapy of head and neck cancer (HNC), morbidity and mortality attributable to this disease remain high throughout the world. Today, head and neck squamous cell carcinomas are the sixth cause of cancer deaths worldwide [1]. In the USA, more than 52,000 new cases of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas are reported per year, with approximately 12,000 deaths [101]. Locoregional recurrence is the main cause of treatment failure; however, distant metastases arise in approximately 10–15% of cases and are associated with very poor prognosis [2]. There is an urgent need for improvements, and while surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy remain the major therapeutic strategies, a variety of novel approaches to diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of HNC have been introduced. This book attempts to present these various approaches, emphasizing that the rationale for their implementation is based on recent progress in our understanding of the biology of HNC and of molecular mechanisms involved in its progression.

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