Immunotherapy: Who Is Eligible?

Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2017 Aug;50(4):867-874. doi: 10.1016/j.otc.2017.04.006.


Recurrent and/or metastatic head and neck cancer portends a poor prognosis with traditional treatments, but current immunotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors has the potential to improve these clinical outcomes. This review focuses on the major breakthroughs that have led to the current understanding of immunotherapy in head and neck cancer as well as the future direction of the field. Ultimately, this understanding will guide clinicians on the selection of patients with head and neck cancer and practical considerations before starting immunotherapy.

Keywords: Checkpoint inhibitors; Immunotherapy; Nivolumab; PD-1/PD-L1 blocking antibodies; Pembrolizumab; Recurrent metastatic head & neck carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / immunology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Immunotherapy / standards*
  • Nivolumab
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor / immunology
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor
  • Nivolumab
  • pembrolizumab