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Head and Neck Cancer Trials

Eugene N. Myers, MD International Lecture on Head and Neck Cancer
10:00 am, Today
New Orleans Theater B

Hisham Mehanna, PhD, FRCS

The Eugene N. Myers, MD International Lecture on Head and Cancer will be presented by Hisham Mehanna, PhD, FRCS, the Chair of Head and Neck Surgery and the Director of the Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education at the School of Cancer Sciences at the University of Birmingham.

Dr. Mehanna is the current President of the British Association of Head Neck Oncologists (BAHNO) and the Past Chair of the U.K.’s National Cancer Research Institute’s head and neck group, which is responsible for all cancer research in the U.K. He is also Secretary of the Head and Neck International Group, which is a collaboration of 20 national clinical trial groups.

Dr. Mehanna plans to discuss four different head and neck cancer trials in his lecture:

  • The Neck Dissection trial by the Tata Memorial Centre
  • The PET NECK study
  • The De-ESCALaTE study by inHANSE
  • The CheckMate 141 study by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

“The Tata study answered the controversy regarding the role of elective neck dissection in early stage oral cancer, confirming its necessity,” said Dr. Mehanna, “The PET NECK study answered the question of the role of PET CT-guided surveillance for nodal disease following chemoradiotherapy, demonstrating that it is effective and cost-effective. The DeESCALaTE study, along with the RTOG 1016 study, demonstrated that Cetuximab with radiotherapy is not as good as the current standard of care, Cisplatin, and radiotherapy, for low-risk HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer patients. Finally, the Checkmate 141 study demonstrated the superiority of Nivolumab compared to standard care for patients undergoing second-line treatment for recurrent head and neck cancer.”

Each trial, he said, has affected modern clinical practice.

“We have learned lessons regarding trial design and the fact that small preliminary data is often wrong,” he said. “Therefore, management should not be changed on the basis of that kind of data.”

Dr. Mehanna said he plans to show data on the benefit of clinical trial participation as an indicator—and possibly even a determinant—of benefits and outcomes for all patients rather than just those who are undergoing treatment within the scope of a trial.