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OTORINOLARINGOLOGIA

A Journal on Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery,
Plastic Reconstructive Surgery, Otoneurosurgery


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Otorinolaringologia 2009 September;59(3);181-93

Copyright © 2009 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

The role of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for head and neck cancer

Rao K. A. 1, 2, 3, Clausen C. L. 4, Malone J. P. 2, 5, Shevlin B. E. 4, Robbins K. T. 2, 5

1 Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, IL, USA 2 Simmons Cooper Cancer Institute at, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, IL, USA 3 Department of Medical Microbiology, Immunology, and Cell Biology, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Springfield, IL, USA 4 Department of Radiation Oncology, St. Johns Hospital, Springfield, IL, USA 5 Division of Otolaryngology, Department of Surgery, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, IL, USA


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Radiation has been a standard therapy for head and neck cancer for many decades and is used as a single modality in early disease and in conjunction with chemotherapy in advanced disease. It is also used post-operatively in appropriate circumstances. Advances in delivery, such as IMRT as well as advances in imaging, have improved efficacy while reducing toxicity. Chemotherapy and more recently biologic therapy are now being recognized as vital components to the treatment of head and neck cancer both in combination with radiation as well as independently as neoadjuvant regimens. Newer agents, such as the taxanes and cetuximab, are adding to the efficacy of multidrug regimens. In the article, we briefly review the evolution of treatment to its current state and outline the latest advances in chemotherapy and radiation therapy for head and neck cancer.

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