Should patients with HPV+ head and neck cancers receive less chemotherapy?
Georgetown researchers are examining a hypothesis about whether HPV+ patients with a head and neck cancer should receive more or less chemotherapy.
“Given the rising number of patients with HPV-caused head and neck cancers, we need to find the right way to treat and cure, this disease,” explains John Deeken, M.D., director of head and neck medical oncology at Georgetown Lombardi. “Some argue that we should decrease the intensity of treatment given how well HPV-positive cancers respond to treatment. Our research suggests the opposite — that intensifying therapy in high-risk HPV-positive patients might well increase the cure rate of this disease. Clearly additional clinical studies are warranted to further test our findings.”
Examining a rare sequel of head and neck cancer – axillary node metastasis In a separate study, researchers are studying an unusual occurance linked to head and neck tumors involving metastasis in the axillary nodes.
“It is postulated that this can be secondary to tumor blockage at the jugulo-subclavian junction and/or fibrosis of the cervical lymphatics following surgery or radiation therapy resulting in retrograde lymphatic flow,” says Richard H. Comstock III, M.D, a 4th-year resident in the department of otolaryngology at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. “Upon reviewing the patients in our series we found that they all had manipulation of their neck lymphatics with either surgery or radiation which we believe played a role in the development of axillary metastasis. In addition we present the only known case of axillary metastasis from a squamous cell skin malignancy.”
Comstock adds, “Clinicians should be aware of this potential complication of head and neck cancer an screen high risk patients accordingly.”
The findings presented at this conference are from a limited peer-reviewed abstract. The data should be
considered as preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed scientific or medical journal.
The Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium is co-sponsored by the American Society for Clinical Oncology, American Society for Radiation Oncology, American Head and Neck Society and the Society of Nuclear Medicine.
About Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, seeks to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer through innovative basic and clinical research, patient care, community education and outreach, and the training of cancer specialists of the future. Georgetown Lombardi is one of only 40 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, as designated by the National Cancer Institute, and the only one in the Washington, DC, area. For more information, go to http://lombardi.georgetown.edu.
About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis — or “care of the whole person.” The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization (BGRO), which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical Translation and Science Award from the National Institutes of Health. In fiscal year 2010-11, GUMC accounted for 85 percent of the university’s sponsored research funding.