SEOM clinical guidelines for the treatment of head and neck cancer (2020)

Clin Transl Oncol. 2021 May;23(5):913-921. doi: 10.1007/s12094-020-02533-1. Epub 2021 Feb 26.


Head and neck cancers (HNC) are defined as malignant tumours located in the upper aerodigestive tract and represents 5% of oncologic cases in adults in Spain. More than 90% of these tumours have squamous histology. In an effort to incorporate evidence obtained since 2017 publication, the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM) presents an update of the squamous cell HNC diagnosis and treatment guideline. Most relevant diagnostic and therapeutic changes from the last guideline have been updated: introduction of sentinel node biopsy in early oral/oropharyngeal cancer treated with surgery, concomitant radiotherapy with weekly cisplatin 40 mg/m2 in the adjuvant setting, new approaches for HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer and new treatments with immune-checkpoint inhibitors in recurrent/metastatic disease.

Keywords: Chemoradiotherapy; Head and neck cancer; Human papillomavirus; Immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Alphapapillomavirus
  • Chemoradiotherapy, Adjuvant / methods
  • Cisplatin / therapeutic use
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Medical Oncology
  • Mouth Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Mouth Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology
  • Mouth Neoplasms / therapy
  • Neoplasm Staging / methods
  • Organ Sparing Treatments / methods
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / therapy
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / virology
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents / therapeutic use
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant / methods
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
  • Societies, Medical
  • Spain
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck / diagnosis*
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck / diagnostic imaging
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck / pathology
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck / therapy*


  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents
  • Cisplatin