Genomic and Molecular Profiling of Human Papillomavirus Associated Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treated with Immune Checkpoint Blockade Compared to Survival Outcomes


Hira Shaikh 1, Julie E. McGrath 2, Brittany Hughes 3, Joanne Xiu 2, Pavel Brodskiy 4, Ammar Sukari 5, Sourat Darabi 6, Chukwuemeka Ikpeazu 7,8, Chadi Nabhan 9, Wolfgang Michael Korn 2 and Trisha M. Wise-Draper 1,3,*

Simple Summary

The prognosis of recurrent and/or metastatic (R/M) head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) remains poor. However, human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) patients live longer than those that are negative for HPV infection. In addition, some R/M HNSCC patients respond well to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) therapies including pembrolizumab and nivolumab, but whether HPV infection is correlated with a good response to ICB is unclear. Here we attempt to understand if ICB treatment improves survival outcomes of HPV and/or surrogate marker p16−positive OPSCC and non-OP HNSCC. We also investigate other potential biomarkers and mutations that may predict improved response to ICB in both HPV−positive and -negative HNSCC patients. With better biomarkers, future treatment can be better tailored to individual patients to improve survival.

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