Immunotherapy for head and neck cancer

Annie A. Wu, Kevin J. Niparko, Sara I. Pai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Head and neck cancer represents a challenging disease. Despite recent treatment advances, which have improved functional outcomes, the long-term survival of head and neck cancer patients has remained unchanged for the past 25 years. One of the goals of adjuvant cancer therapy is to eradicate local regional microscopic and micrometastatic disease with minimal toxicity to surrounding normal cells. In this respect, antigen-specific immunotherapy is an attractive therapeutic approach. With the advances in molecular genetics and fundamental immunology, antigen-specific immunotherapy is being actively explored using DNA, bacterial vector, viral vector, peptide, protein, dendritic cell, and tumor-cell based vaccines. Early phase clinical trials have demonstrated the safety and feasibility of these novel therapies and the emphasis is now shifting towards the development of strategies, which can increase the potency of these vaccines. As the field of immunotherapy matures and as our understanding of the complex interaction between tumor and host develops, we get closer to realizing the potential of immunotherapy as an adjunctive method to control head and neck cancer and improve long-term survival in this patient population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-289
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of biomedical science
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Antigen-specific immunotherapy
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Tumor immunology
  • Tumor-specific antigens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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