Immunotherapy Continues to Advance in Head and Neck Cancer

Source: www.onclive.comAuthor: Megan Garlapow, PhD   Concomitant administration of motolimod with cetuximab (Erbitux) increases the innate and adaptive immune response in the blood and the tumor microenvironment in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), overcoming negative prognostic biomarkers of cetuximab therapy alone, according to the biomarker data from a recent phase Ib clinical trial that was presented at the 2016 Head and Neck Cancer Symposium. The trial was recently amended to add nivolumab to the combination of cetuximab and motolimod. Dr. Robert Ferris, MD PhD   “We know that PD-1 and PD-L1 are overexpressed in head and neck cancer, and so it was somewhat irresistible to combine our baseline treatment of cetuximab and motolimod with the PD-L1 inhibition pathway. EGFR itself drives PD-L1, so combining cetuximab with anti-PD-1 inhibitor makes sense. So, we’ve amended this trial. We’re now accruing to treatment with cetuximab, motolimod, and the anti–PD-L1 nivolumab in this trial,” said lead author Robert Ferris, MD, PhD, professor, Departments of Otolaryngology, Radiation Oncology, and Immunology, Cancer Immunology Program, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. According to the authors of the phase Ib data presented at the symposium, the rationale for combining cetuximab with motolimod (VTX2337) as neoadjuvant therapy was that cetuximab induces cellular immunity that correlates with neoadjuvant clinical response. The phase I dose-escalation and safety of the combination had been established (NCT 01334177). This study of neoadjuvant cetuximab and motolimod had accrued 14 patients with HNSCC that was stage II-IV, resectable, and located in the oropharynx, [...]

2016-02-29T10:49:56-07:00February, 2016|Oral Cancer News|

NCCN Is ‘Vague,’ So Study Clarifies H&N Cancer Follow-up

Source: www.medscape.comAuthor: Nick Mulcahy Clinical guidelines can sometimes be slow to respond to epidemiology. Take the case of oropharyngeal cancers that are associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. They are increasingly common in the United States and, as several studies have demonstrated, have better survival than cancers of this type that are not HPV-positive. Nonetheless, one of the beacons in oncology care, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), recommends the same follow-up care guidance for oropharynx squamous cell carcinoma whether it is associated with HPV or not, according to two experts. For post-treatment follow-up, including recurrence detection, "the NCCN guidelines are one-size-fits-all," said Jessica Frakes, MD, a radiation oncologist at the Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida. She spoke during a press briefing at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona. "You are exactly right: the NCCN is fairly vague about when to perform imaging," said Christine Gourin, MD, an otolaryngologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who moderated the press briefing. Dr Frakes and her colleagues have stepped into this informational breach with a new study that might help clinicians gain clarity on the use of surveillance imaging in HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer and reduce its frequency. "The purpose of our study is to determine when these patients fail and when they have side effects so we know how to guide optimal follow-up," Dr Frakes explained. The study authors examined 246 cases of nonmetastatic HPV-positive oropharynx squamous cell carcinoma treated with radiation therapy at [...]

2016-02-23T12:17:36-07:00February, 2016|Oral Cancer News|

Excitement at new cancer treatment

Source: www.news.doximity.comAuthor: James Gallagher A therapy that retrains the body's immune system to fight cancer has provoked excitement after more than 90% of terminally ill patients reportedly went into remission.   White blood cells were taken from patients with leukaemia, modified in the lab and then put back. But the data has not been published or reviewed and two patients are said to have died from an extreme immune response. Experts said the trial was exciting, but still only "a baby step." The news bubbled out of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual meeting in Washington DC. The lead scientist, Prof Stanley Riddell from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle, said all other treatments had failed in these patients and they had only two-to-five months to live. He told the conference that: "The early data is unprecedented." Re-training In the trial, cells from the immune system called killer t-cells were taken out of dozens of patients. The cells normally act like bombs destroying infected tissue. The researchers genetically modified the t-cells to engineer a new targeting mechanism - with the technical name of chimeric antigen receptors - to target acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Prof Riddell told the BBC: "Essentially what this process does is, it genetically reprograms the T-cell to seek out and recognise and destroy the patient's tumour cells. "[The patients] were really at the end of the line in terms of treatment options and yet a single dose of this therapy put more than [...]

2016-02-22T12:19:53-07:00February, 2016|Oral Cancer News|

HPV vaccination rates are low, especially in Kansas and Missouri, and cancer experts are alarmed

Source: www.kansascity.comAuthor: Lisa Gutierrez The HPV vaccine is recommended for girls and boys starting at ages 11 to 12. But in state-by-state comparisons, children in Kansas and Missouri rank at or near the bottom of the list. John Amis The Associated Press   The University of Kansas Cancer Center recently joined nearly 70 other cancer centers across the country to sound an alarm about the HPV vaccine. Many children still are not getting the recommended vaccine for human papillomavirus, which causes head and neck cancer in men and women, cervical cancer in women and a host of other cancers in both. In Kansas and Missouri, less than 49 percent of girls have received the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kansas ranks dead last in the nation, and Missouri is near the bottom. Both states rank low for the number of boys who are vaccinated too. The public call from KU’s cancer center was blunt: The vaccine prevents cancer. What’s the problem? “It absolutely breaks my heart,” said Terry Tsue, physician-in-chief at the University of Kansas Cancer Center. “We have two vaccines against cancers that are caused by virus, the hepatitis A vaccine and the HPV vaccine. Otherwise, we don’t have a vaccine that prevents cancer. “There are thousands and thousands of people dying annually from this disease that could have been prevented had we had this vaccine 30 years ago. We didn’t have it and were so slow in adopting it that for the next [...]

2016-02-18T13:37:23-07:00February, 2016|Oral Cancer News|

HPV16 Antibodies Signal Even Better Oral Cancer Outcomes

Source: www.medscape.comAuthor: Neil Osterweil Another prognostic tool may be in the offing for clinicians to use in evaluating patients with oropharyngeal cancers, new research suggests. The presence in serum of three antibodies to human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) was predictive of better progression-free and overall survival in these patients, according to Kristina R. Dahlstrom, PhD, from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, and colleagues. Patients whose serum was positive for the presence of three specific antibodies to "early" (E) proteins involved in replication and growth of HPV16 had dramatically better rates of overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) compared with patients whose serum was negative for the antibodies, they reported online June 15 in Clinical Cancer Research. Specifically, for those patients whose serum was positive for any E antibodies, 5-year estimated OS was 87.4%, compared with 42.2% for patients whose sereum was negative for all E antibodies (P < .001). The respective 5-year PFS rates were 82.9% and 46.1% (P < .001). "These results hint at a prognostic stratification of patients with HPV-related oropharynx cancer reflecting humoral immune response to HPV type 16 E proteins and thus may help in choosing immunotherapy approaches for such patients in future," said senior author Erich M. Sturgis, MD, MPH, a surgeon at MD Anderson, in comments to Medscape Medical News. Currently, the serology results are not strong enough to be used as clinical decision tools for choosing current therapies, she added. Their findings also suggest that vaccine-based immunotherapy targeted [...]

NIH-funded study finds new potential drug targets by uncovering a range of molecular alterations in head and neck cancers

Source: www.nih.govAuthor: Staff Investigators with The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network have discovered genomic differences — with potentially important clinical implications — in head and neck cancers caused by infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States, and the number of HPV-related head and neck cancers has been growing. Almost every sexually active person will acquire HPV at some point in their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The researchers also uncovered new smoking-related cancer subtypes and potential new drug targets, and found numerous genomic similarities with other cancer types. Taken together, this study’s findings may provide more detailed explanations of how HPV infection and smoking play roles in head and neck cancer risk and disease development, and offer potential novel diagnostic and treatment directions. The study is the most comprehensive examination to date of genomic alterations in head and neck cancers. The results were published online Jan. 28, 2015 in the journal Nature. TCGA is jointly supported and managed by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), both parts of the National Institutes of Health. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved HPV vaccines should be able to prevent the cancers caused by HPV infection in head and neck cancers and elsewhere, including anal cancer, whose incidence has also been increasing. However, these vaccines work by preventing new infections, and the long interval between infection and cancer development make it [...]

2015-03-10T10:11:49-07:00March, 2015|Oral Cancer News|

HPV Related Cancers Increase in Men

Source: scientificamerican.comAuthor: Robin Lloyd A vaccine to protect against the most dangerous strains of human papillomavirus (HPV), which cause almost all cervical cancers, as well as many cases of other cancers and genital warts in both sexes, won the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration nearly nine years ago. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that all boys and girls aged 11 or 12 receive the shots. Vaccination campaigns, aimed largely at girls and women, have fallen short of expectations. By 2013 just over half of U.S. females aged 13 to 17 had received at least one dose of either the Gardasil or Cervarix vaccine. For males, that figure was a disappointing 35 percent. Now head and neck cancers associated with the virus are on the rise, leading some experts to recommend that a gender-neutral or male-centric approach might be more effective. HPV is the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease in the U.S. and worldwide, infecting just about all men and women at some point in their lives. Although most people clear the virus naturally, persistent infections with some strains can lead to cancer—usually cervical or oropharyngeal (affecting the back of the throat, tonsils and back of the tongue). HPV-associated cancers make up 3.3 percent of all cancer cases among women and 2 percent of all such cases among men annually in the latest available figures, yet the incidence of virally instigated oropharyngeal and anal cancers is increasing. Ohio State University medical oncologist and epidemiologist Maura [...]

2015-02-18T10:56:24-07:00February, 2015|Oral Cancer News|

New research shows possibility of cure for HPV positive throat cancer patients

Source: Eurek Alert! The Global Source for Science News Nice, France: Patients with cancer of the throat caused by the Human Papilloma virus (HPV+) have a better prognosis than those who are negative for the virus (HPV-). Now, for the first time, researchers have shown with convincing evidence that a group of patients with HPV+ cancer of the oropharynx (the part of the throat located behind the mouth, that makes up the region of the tonsils and the back part of the tongue where it connects to the swallowing part of the throat), can be cured in some cases even after disease has spread to distant organs in the body, like the lungs. Dr Sophie Huang, Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University of Toronto, Canada, will tell the 5th International Conference on Innovative Approaches in Head and Neck Oncology (ICHNO) today (Friday) that her research has shown that, following intensive treatment, certain patients with HPV+ oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) and distant metastases (tumours appearing in an organ not directly related to the primary cancer site) can survive for more than two years without further evidence of disease. Such cancers are usually considered to be incurable, and the goal of treatment is usually limited to symptom control. "Our research, the largest study to date to explore survival predictors for metastatic HPV+ and HPV- oropharyngeal cancer patients, has shown that cure is a realistic goal in those patients with oligometastasis - metastases involving five or fewer [...]

2015-02-13T08:37:16-07:00February, 2015|OCF In The News|

Study finds Oral HPV Infection Lasts Longer in Older Men

Author: StaffSource: winnipegfreepress.com FRIDAY, Jan. 9, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- One type of oral HPV (human papillomavirus) infection, HPV16, seems to last a year or longer in men over the age of 45 than it does in younger men, new research indicates. HPV16 is the form of HPV often associated with the onset of head and neck cancers (oropharyngeal), the study team noted. "Oral HPV16 is the HPV type most commonly found in HPV-driven oropharyngeal cancers, which have been increasing in incidence recently in the United States," said study author Christine Pierce Campbell in a American Association for Cancer Research news release. She is an assistant member in the department of Cancer Epidemiology and Center for Infection Research in Cancer at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla. "We don't know how long oral HPV infection must persist to increase risk for head and neck cancer," she added, "but we assume it would be similar to cervical infection, where it is generally believed that infections persisting beyond two years greatly increase the risk of developing cervical cancer." The study was released online on Jan. 9 in Cancer Prevention Research. The researchers analyzed four years of samples from more than 1,600 men. The samples were collected every six months. During the study, 23 men had two or more positive oral HPV16 samples. Of these, 10 had HPV16 when the study began. In the group that had HPV16 at the start of the study, nine had infections that lasted a year or more. Additionally, [...]

2015-01-12T11:22:24-07:00January, 2015|Oral Cancer News|

Doctors Trying To Remind Americans That The HPV Vaccine Isn’t All About Sex

Source: thinkprogress.orgAuthor: Tara Culp-Ressler  Dr. Ronald A. DePinho is on a mission.   DePinho, who’s been a cancer researcher for decades and currently serves as the president of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, wants to reframe the national conversation about the HPV vaccine to drive home a fundamental point.   “It’s important to appreciate that this is a cancer vaccine. A cancer vaccine!” DePinho said in an interview with ThinkProgress. “It’s a dream come true that we’ve converted knowledge into something that can actually save lives and avoid getting cancer in the first place. It’s really what we have been hoping for, and now we have it.” Since the introduction of the HPV vaccine in 2006, the rate of human papillomavirus in teenage girls has plummeted. And the research in this field continues to advance. On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration approved an updated version of the Gardasil vaccine that protects against nine strains of the cancer-causing virus — more than twice as many as the 2006 version, which covered just four strains.   According to DePinho, that’s a really significant advance for cancer care. He doesn’t want it to get lost in the ongoing controversy about HPV vaccination, a round of shots that some parents still worry is unsafe or inappropriate for their kids. There’s a persistent myth, for instance, that giving teen girls the shots will spur them to become more “promiscuous” because they know they’ll be protected from a sexually transmitted infection. Large [...]

2014-12-12T10:46:44-07:00December, 2014|Oral Cancer News|
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