For palliation of patients with recurrent and/or metastatic head and neck squamous cell cancer (R/M HNSCC), the major classes of commonly used cytotoxic chemotherapeutic agents are platinum agents (cisplatin, carboplatin), taxanes (paclitaxel, docetaxel), and antimetabolic agents (methotrexate, 5-fluorouracil). Cetuximab, a monoclonal antibody directed against the extracellular domain of the epidermal growth factor receptor, also shows modest activity against R/M HNSCC. Because the overall management of patients with R/M HNSCC often involves multidisciplinary input, this review focuses on data that help guide decision-making in scenarios in which palliative chemotherapy is planned. Avenues for ongoing research are also presented.
Matthew G. Fury and David G. Pfister
Christina S. Chu and David G. Pfister
Mucosal exposure to human papillomavirus (HPV) can lead to anogenital and head and neck (H&N) cancer. Vaccination at a young age can be almost 100% effective in preventing HPV infection with the viral subtypes in both men and women, at least for disease in the anogenital tract. Therapeutic strategies targeting HPV in cervical dysplasia and cancer are showing promise as well in regressing dysplasia and controlling disease. That HPV-positive H&N cancer is a different disease from HPV-negative disease, with different molecular and clinical features and prognosis, is becoming better appreciated. At this time, however, the NCCN Guidelines for H&N Cancers do not distinguish between the types. This is expected to change.
Shrujal S. Baxi, Lara Dunn and David G. Pfister
Shrujal Baxi, Matthew Fury, Ian Ganly, Shyam Rao and David G. Pfister
Allison Lipitz-Snyderman, Jessica Kennington, Brooke Hogan, Deborah Korenstein, Leonard Kalman, Suresh Nair, Peter Yu, Paul Sabbatini and David Pfister
Background: The proliferation of relationships between community health systems and academic medical centers has created a need to identify effective components of these models. This article reports on frontline physician experiences, with one such relationship established through the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) Cancer Alliance. MSK created the Alliance with the goals of rapidly bringing the newest standards of care into community settings and increasing patient access to clinical trials in their local communities. Methods: Alliance leadership administered a 10-question anonymous survey to physicians treating patients with cancer across the 3 Alliance member health systems: Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute, Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute, and Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida. The purpose of the survey was to identify opportunities to improve physician engagement. Results: There were 103 clinician respondents across Alliance members, of which 87 reported participation in a disease management team and were included in the final analysis. Most respondents reported high value from Alliance activities, such as attending MSK tumor boards (94%) and lecture series (96%), among those who reported them applicable. Across all respondents, most reported satisfaction with engagement opportunities, such as MSK physician participation in their institution’s meetings (76%). When asked where they would like to see increased engagement, the most commonly reported response was for more lecture series (45%). Most respondents (88%) reported that the Alliance led to practice change, either for themselves or for other clinicians at their institution. Many attributed this practice change to MSK disease-specific process measures. Conclusions: The activities most valued by community physicians were heavily physician relationship–based. The encouraging experience of the MSK Cancer Alliance suggests that activities involving physician investment may be effective for promoting practice change in the context of cross-institution relationships. Future research is needed in this area.
Craig Sauter, W. Jeffrey Baker, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Silvia Willumsen, Barbara Morcerf, Kristi Gafford, Jessica Kennington, Richard Korman, Peter Yu, David Pfister and Sergio Giralt
Background: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) created the MSK Cancer Alliance in 2014, a dynamic and bidirectional collaboration with high-quality community providers to enhance access to state-of-the-art cancer care close to home. Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute (HHC), joined the MSK Cancer Alliance as the first member in 2014. Research suggests that bone marrow transplant (BMT) is an underutilized definitive therapy (Yao et al, Biol Blood Bone Marrow Transplant 2013) for patients with hematologic malignancies and the timing of a referral for transplant has significant impact on patient outcomes (National Marrow Donor Program, available at: https://bethematchclinical.org/transplant-indications-and-outcomes/additional-outcomes/timing-impact-on-outcomes/). MSK and HHC developed the BMT Shared Care program to improve access to transplant, ensure BMT specialist consults for appropriate candidates occur during initial treatment planning, reduce burdensome travel for patients by facilitating care locally, and enhance seamless coordination between local oncologists and BMT providers from initial consult through post-transplant care. Methods: To achieve these goals, MSK and HHC physicians, nurses, and staff created a program that includes: HHC hiring a BMT nurse, who trained for 4 weeks at MSK, and works with MSK counterparts to create a streamlined referral process, pretransplant care at HHC, and travel logistics to MSK; MSK and HHC physicians hold virtual tumor boards to jointly evaluate patients and provide BMT consults at the optimal time; onsite lectures and observer-ships focused on advances in BMT, supportive care, and management of complications like graft versus host disease, leading to the integration of additional clinical services like infectious disease and dermatology; and research, including an MSK clinical trial open at HHC to identify and understand barriers to transplant in the community for patients with newly diagnosed or relapsed acute leukemia. Results: Since November 2015, HHC has referred 86 patients for BMT consult through this Shared Care program, with 35 patients transplanted or receiving immune effector cells (IEC) to date. Conclusions: The BMT Shared Care program effectively facilitates the referral and transplant of appropriate patients while allowing them to receive much of their pre- and post-transplant care in their local communities. Collaboration between BMT nurse coordinators and robust physician engagement are essential to this program. Future opportunities include expanding the use of telemedicine, enhancing electronic data sharing, quantifying and analyzing patient satisfaction, and expanding BMT research at HHC.
Matthew G. Fury, Eric Sherman, Donna Lisa, Neeraj Agarwal, Kenneth Algazy, Bruce Brockstein, Corey Langer, Dean Lim, Ranee Mehra, Sandeep K. Rajan, Susan Korte, Brynna Lipson, Furhan Yunus, Tawee Tanvetyanon, Stephanie Smith-Marrone, Kenneth Ng, Han Xiao, Sofia Haque and David G. Pfister
Cetuximab is typically administered on a weekly schedule for patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC). This study explores cetuximab administered every 2 weeks (q2w). In this multicenter randomized prospective phase II study, eligible patients (≤2 prior cytotoxic chemotherapy regimens for recurrent or metastatic disease; ECOG performance status ≤2) were randomized to receive cetuximab q2w at 500 mg/m2 (Group A) or 750 mg/m2 (Group B). The primary end point was response rate (RECIST 1.0). Sixty-one patients were enrolled: 35 in Group A and 26 in Group B, which was closed early for lack of efficacy. Confirmed partial response rates were 11% for Group A (4/35) and 8% for Group B (2/26) according to intention to treat analysis. Partial responses occurred only among patients whose primary tumors were in the oral cavity or larynx. Median progression-free survival (PFS) and median overall survival (OS) were similar for both groups (PFS, 2.2 and 2.0 months; OS, 7.0 and 9.4 months; Groups A and B, respectively). The most common cetuximab-related adverse events (all grades) among treated subjects included rash, fatigue, and hypomagnesemia. Cetuximab, 500 mg/m2, q2w achieves similar efficacy as conventional dosing for patients with recurrent or metastatic HNSCC. Escalating the dose to 750 mg/m2 q2w offers no obvious therapeutic advantage.
David G. Pfister, Kie-Kian Ang, David M. Brizel, Barbara A. Burtness, Anthony J. Cmelak, A. Dimitrios Colevas, Frank Dunphy, David W. Eisele, Jill Gilbert, Maura L. Gillison, Robert I. Haddad, Bruce H. Haughey, Wesley L. Hicks Jr., Ying J. Hitchcock, Merrill S. Kies, William M. Lydiatt, Ellie Maghami, Renato Martins, Thomas McCaffrey, Bharat B. Mittal, Harlan A. Pinto, John A. Ridge, Sandeep Samant, Giuseppe Sanguineti, David E. Schuller, Jatin P. Shah, Sharon Spencer, Andy Trotti III, Randal S. Weber, Gregory T. Wolf and Frank Worden
David G. Pfister, Sharon Spencer, David M. Brizel, Barbara Burtness, Paul M. Busse, Jimmy J. Caudell, Anthony J. Cmelak, A. Dimitrios Colevas, Frank Dunphy, David W. Eisele, Jill Gilbert, Maura L. Gillison, Robert I. Haddad, Bruce H. Haughey, Wesley L. Hicks Jr, Ying J. Hitchcock, Antonio Jimeno, Merrill S. Kies, William M. Lydiatt, Ellie Maghami, Renato Martins, Thomas McCaffrey, Loren K. Mell, Bharat B. Mittal, Harlan A. Pinto, John A. Ridge, Cristina P. Rodriguez, Sandeep Samant, David E. Schuller, Jatin P. Shah, Randal S. Weber, Gregory T. Wolf, Frank Worden, Sue S. Yom, Nicole R. McMillian and Miranda Hughes
This selection from the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Head and Neck Cancers focuses on glottic laryngeal cancer, which is the most common type of laryngeal cancer and has an excellent cure rate. The lymphatic drainage of the glottis is sparse, and early stage primaries rarely spread to regional nodes. Because hoarseness is an early symptom, most glottic laryngeal cancer is early stage at diagnosis. Updates to these guidelines for 2014 include revisions to “Principles of Radiation Therapy” for each site and “Principles of Surgery,” and the addition of a new section on “Principles of Dental Evaluation and Management.”