Immunotherapy for head and neck cancer
Immunotherapy drugs are designed to help the body's immune system to identify and kill cancer cells.
Checkpoint inhibitors work by disrupting signaling proteins that allow cancer cells to disguise themselves from the immune system. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the checkpoint inhibitor drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) to treat advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Pembrolizumab targets the PD-1 cell receptor, which helps to regulate immune responses.
Immunotherapy may not be used to treat all patients, and responses to the treatment may vary. Immunotherapy may also be used in combination with other cancer treatments.