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Given the recent successes of anti-PD-1 immunotherapy, many clinical trials have sought to assess the safety and efficacy of this treatment modality in the neoadjuvant setting. This systematic review provides a comprehensive summary of findings from neoadjuvant head and neck cancer immunotherapy clinical trials with a focus on PD-1/PD-L1 axis blockade. Pubmed, Embase, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, Google Scholar, and were systematically searched for all eligible neoadjuvant head and neck cancer immunotherapy clinical trials. Eight clinical trials met the inclusion criteria comprising a total of 260 patients. Study drugs included nivolumab, pembrolizumab, ipilimumab, durvalumab, and tremelimumab. The overall mean objective response rate (ORR) was 45.9 ± 5.7% with a 41.5 ± 5.6% single agent mean ORR. There were no deaths due to immune-related toxicities. Neoadjuvant immunotherapy for mucosal head and neck squamous cell cancer has demonstrated favorable response rates with no unexpected immune-related toxicities in phase I/II clinical trials. © 2021 Wiley Periodicals LLC.


Neha Amin, Christopher A Maroun, Margueritta El Asmar, Hosam H Alkhatib, Meytal Guller, Matthew E Herberg, Gangcai Zhu, Tanguy Y Seiwert, Drew Pardoll, David W Eisele, Carole Fakhry, Christine G Gourin, Rajarsi Mandal. Neoadjuvant immunotherapy prior to surgery for mucosal head and neck squamous cell carcinoma: Systematic review. Head & neck. 2022 Feb;44(2):562-571

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PMID: 34825751

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