Head and neck cancers (HNC) represent a heterogeneous cluster of aggressive malignancies that account for 3% of all cancer cases in the UK. HNC is increasing in frequency particularly in the developing world, which is related to changes in risk factors. Unfortunately, the mortality rate is high, which is chiefly attributed to late diagnosis at stages where traditional treatments fail. Cancer immunotherapy has achieved great successes in anti-tumor therapy. Checkpoint inhibitor (CI) antibodies enhance anti-tumor activity by blocking inhibitory receptors to drive tumor-specific T and NK cell effector responses. Since their introduction in 2011, CI antibodies have been approved for many cancer types including HNC. Here, we examine the development of CI therapies and look forward to future developments for treatment of HNC with CI therapies.
- checkpoint inhibitor
- head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
- T cells