Background: Despite multiple modalities used to management of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), disease control remains unsatisfactory. Immunotherapy is emerging as a novel therapeutic approach. This systematic review assesses clinical data regarding immunotherapy efficacy and safety. Methods: Data from 11 clinical trials testing immunotherapy in HNSCC were assessed. We performed the meta-analysis to correlate the overall survival (OS), response rate (RR), adverse effects, HPV status, and PD-L1 expression. Results: Immunotherapy extended OS (hazard ratio = 0.77, p < 0.0001) and RR significantly (risk ratio = 1.41, p = 0.02). Patients with HPV-positive HNSCC exhibited a better RR (risk ratio = 1.29, p = 0.24) and OS (11.5 vs. 6.3 months). PD-L1 positive tumors showed a higher OS (9.9 vs. 6.5 months). Moreover, immunotherapy caused less adverse effects than standard therapy. Conclusion: Our results indicate the benefit of immunotherapy for improving RR and OS of HNSCC patients. The benefit is higher in patients with HPV and PD-L1 positive tumors.
- Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
- Human papillomavirus
- Programmed death-ligand 1
ASJC Scopus subject areas