PMID: 15570827Dec 2, 2004Paper

Immunological aspects of head and neck cancer: biology, pathophysiology and therapeutic mechanisms

The Surgeon : Journal of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of Edinburgh and Ireland
A McKechnieO Eremin


Advanced cancer and head and neck cancer, in particular, remains a major clinical challenge with its associated morbidity and inevitable mortality. Local control of early disease is achievable in many solid tumours with current surgical and radiotherapeutic techniques but metastatic disease is associated with poor outcome and prognosis. It is known that, by the time of presentation, many patients will already have occult microscopic metastatic disease, and surgery and radiotherapy will not result in long-term survival. What little effect modern chemotherapeutic agents have on microscopic disease is, however, limited by systemic toxicity and multi-drug resistance. Immune surveillance is postulated to be operative in man. There is evidence, however, that patients with progressive tumour growth have failure of host defences both locally and systemically. Various possible defects and tumour escape mechanisms are discussed in the review. Immunotherapy and, in particular adoptive T cell therapy and DC therapy, show promise as putative tumour-specific therapy with clinical benefits. These techniques are undergoing development and evaluation in phase 1 clinical trials. Preliminary data suggest that the treatments are well tolerated. Un...Continue Reading


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