Combined modality treatment of squamous cell cancer of the head and neck
Neoplasms, Squamous Cell
Squamous cell cancer of the head and neck is a debilitating disease. Combined modality treatments with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation have been evaluated in multiple settings over the past 30 years. While surgery and radiation remain the potentially curative modalities, the addition of chemotherapy can in some cases decrease the rate of distant metastasis. When concurrent chemoradiation is employed, overall survival is improved, although toxicity can be higher. Studies have also shown a role for concurrent treatment in an effort to avoid total laryngectomy and preserve organ function. Multidisciplinary evaluation should be a routine part of care in this patient population. Future areas of research include the epidermal growth factor inhibitors, which have shown promise in early studies.