Despite the lack of approved anti-angiogenic therapies in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN), preclinical and more recent clinical evidence support the role of targeting the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in this disease. Targeting VEGF has gained even greater interest following the recent evidence supporting the role of immunotherapy in the management of advanced SCCHN. Preclinical evidence strongly suggests that VEGF plays a role in promoting the growth and progression of SCCHN, and clinical evidence exists as to the value of combining this strategy with immunotherapeutic agents. Close to 90% of SCCHNs express VEGF, which has been correlated with a worse clinical prognosis and an increased resistance to chemotherapeutic agents. As immunotherapy is currently at the forefront of the management of advanced SCCHN, revisiting the rationale for targeting angiogenesis in this disease has become an even more attractive proposition.
Keywords: SCCHN; VEGF; angiogenesis; immunotherapy; tumor microenvironment.