Immunotherapy is an exciting new option for aggressive head and neck cancers and, in combination with radiation, may even help patients who resist immune checkpoint blockade, said panelists at a symposium October 8, 2018, at the AAO–HNS Annual Meeting in Atlanta. The Korean Society of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and the Korean American Otolaryngology Society co-sponsored the symposium.
Explore this issue:November 2018
Cancer Treatment’s New Frontier
“Immunotherapy is based on the idea that when cancer cells develop, they undergo mutations, which then change the expression of the surface antigens of tumor cells sufficiently enough so the immune system can now recognize the tumor cells as foreign entities, and can mount an immune reaction to them,” said Seungwon Kim, MD, associate professor in the department of otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).
The programmed-death ligand (PD-1/PD-L1) pathway is essential in immunotherapy. The immune system mounts an inflammatory response to infection or what it perceives as foreign invaders. Cells present antigens via the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), which then bind to receptors on T cells.