Median survival for recurrent/metastatic head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC) patients is about 10 months after first-line best systemic treatment. We aimed to assess current approaches of oligometastatic HNSCC patients by the analysis of current concept and published data (1995-2017) in this population. Five-year survival rates are over 20% in selected patients who undergo metastasis-directed therapy by either surgery or stereotactic irradiation. Human papillomavirus(+) HNSCC patients have more disseminated metastases but respond more favorably and also benefit from ablative treatments. Treatments of oligometastases are expanding rapidly. Unmet needs include revised imaging follow-up strategies to detect metastases earlier, identification of predictive noninvasive biomarkers for treatment guidance, assessment and corrections of biases in current studies and randomized clinical trials.
Keywords: ablative treatment; head and neck cancer; immunotherapy; metastasectomy; metastases; metastasis-directed treatment; oligometastases; stereotactic irradiation.