Global Oncology Academy

Understanding Treatment Strategies for Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck

The complexity of managing squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) requires a multidisciplinary team. Support and services for the tre...

Available credits: 0.75

Time to complete: 45 minutes


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  • Overview

    The complexity of managing squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) requires a multidisciplinary team. Support and services for the treatment of patients with SCCHN may include nutritional support, speech and swallowing therapy, and dental care, among others. Additionally, the American Cancer Society published new guidelines for head and neck cancer survivorship care in March 2016. 

    Standard treatments for SCCHN include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. These options have shown to be very effective and safe; however, because SCCHN is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, with a poor prognosis, new treatment options are needed. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed in more than 90% of cases of SCCHN, which has led to the development of EGFR inhibitors, such as cetuximab. Newer data regarding novel/new uses of cetuximab for SCCHN have been reported. In August 2016, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to pembrolizumab, a checkpoint inhibitor, for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic SCCHN with disease progression on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy. In November 2016, the FDA approved nivolumab for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic SCCHN with disease progression on or after a platinum-based therapy. In addition, there are other checkpoint inhibitors being investigated in clinical trials for SCCHN, such as durvalumab and avelumab. 

    Because of the fast pace of developments in this area, it is difficult for clinicians to remain up-to-date regarding these important topics, making it challenging to provide state-of-the-art care to their patients. This activity will improve clinicians’ understanding of multidisciplinary treatment and management strategies with current and emerging therapies for SCCHN.

  • Learning Objectives

    At the conclusion of this activity, participants should be better able to:

    • Discuss multidisciplinary approaches to identification, treatment, and management of SCCHN
    • Develop a survivorship care plan for patients with SCCHN according to guidelines
    • Identify appropriate therapeutic options for patients with SCCHN based on emerging clinical data for current therapeutic options
    • Evaluate emerging evidence on novel immunotherapies for the treatment of SCCHN
    • Describe the potential impact novel immunotherapies may have on the current standard of care for SCCHN
  • Target Audience

    This activity is intended for medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists, advanced practice nurses, registered nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers who treat head and neck cancer.

  • Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest

    AXIS Medical Education requires instructors, planners, managers, and other individuals and their spouse/life partner who are in a position to control the content of this activity to disclose any real or apparent conflict of interest they may have as related to the content of this activity. All identified conflicts of interest are thoroughly vetted by AXIS for fair balance, scientific objectivity of studies mentioned in the materials or used as the basis for content, and appropriateness of patient care recommendations.

    AXIS will identify, review, and resolve all conflicts of interest that faculty, authors, activity directors, planners, managers, peer reviewers, or relevant staff disclose prior to an educational activity being delivered to learners. Disclosure of a relationship is not intended to suggest or condone bias in any presentation but is made to provide participants with information that might be of potential importance to their evaluation of a presentation. Disclosure information for speakers, authors, course directors, planners, peer reviewers, and/or relevant staff is provided with this activity.

    The faculty reported the following financial relationships or relationships they or their spouse/life partner have with commercial interests related to the content of this continuing education activity:
    Robert L. Ferris, M.D., Ph.D.: Speakers bureau, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP/MedImmune, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP/MedImmune, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Merck & Co, Inc; Contracted research, Merck & Co, Inc.

    The planners and managers reported the following financial relationships or relationships they or their spouse/life partner have with commercial interests related to the content of this continuing education activity:
    The following AXIS planners and managers, Linda Gracie-King, MS; Ronald Viggiani, MD; Jocelyn Timko, BS, and Marilyn Haas, PhD, RN, CNS, ANP-BC hereby state that they or their spouse/life partner do not have any financial relationships or relationships to products or devices with any commercial interest of any amount during the past 12 months.

  • Accreditation and Credit Designation Statements

    AXIS Medical Education is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

    Credit Designation for Physicians
    AXIS Medical Education designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 0.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

    Credit Designation for Pharmacists
    This knowledge-based activity is approved for 0.75 contact hours of continuing pharmacy education credit. 
    UAN 0592-0000-16-020-H01-P.

    Credit Designation for Nursing
    AXIS Medical Education designates this continuing nursing education activity for 0.75 contact hours.

    Learners are advised that accredited status does not imply endorsement by the provider or ANCC of any commercial products displayed in conjunction with an activity.

  • Commercial Support

    This activity is supported by an educational grant from Lilly. For further information concerning Lilly grant funding visit

  • Terms of Use

    AXIS Contact Information
    For information about the accreditation of this activity, please contact AXIS at

    Fee Information
    There is no fee for this educational activity.

    Method of Participation and Request for Credit
    To receive credit for this activity, participants must review the activity information including learning objectives and faculty/planner disclosures and actively participate in the educational activity. Upon successfully completing the post-test with a score of 75% or better and the post-activity evaluation, your certificate will be made available immediately.

  • Disclaimer

    Disclosure of Unlabeled Use
    This educational activity may contain discussion of agents that are not approved for use by the FDA and/or investigational (“off-label”) uses of agents that are approved by the FDA. The planners of this activity do not recommend the use of any agent outside of its labeled indications.
    The opinions expressed in the educational activity are those of the faculty and do not necessarily represent the views of the planners. Please refer to the official prescribing information for each agent for information on its approved indications, contraindications, warnings, and other, related information.

    Participants have an implied responsibility to use the newly acquired information to enhance patient outcomes and their own professional development. The information presented in this activity is not meant to serve as a guideline for patient management. Any procedures, medications, or other courses of diagnosis or treatment discussed or suggested in this activity should not be used by clinicians without evaluation of their patient’s conditions and possible contraindications and/or dangers in use, review of any applicable manufacturer’s product information, and comparison with recommendations of other authorities.

    Safeguards Against Commercial Bias
    AXIS Medical Education affirms that the content and format of the certified activity and its related materials promote improvements and quality in healthcare and do not promote a specific proprietary business interest of a commercial entity. To this end, AXIS employs several strategies to ensure the absence of commercial bias, including, but not limited to, review of all planned content for certified activities to ensure adherence to the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education’s content validation guidelines, and resolution of any actual or perceived conflicts of interest that exist.
    We employ several metrics during review of content materials, including:

    1. Fair balance
      a. Recommendations must be based on a reasonable and valid interpretation of the information available on the subject matter
      b. No single product or service is overrepresented when other equal, competing products or services are available for inclusion
    2. Scientific objectivity of studies mentioned in the activity or used as the basis for content development
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