Significant correlations between the response to induction chemotherapy and success of subsequent radiotherapy have been reported and suggest that the response to induction chemotherapy is able to predict a response to radiotherapy. Therefore, induction chemotherapy may be used to tailor the treatment plan to the individual patient with head and neck cancer: following the planned subsequent (chemo)radiation schedule, planning a radiation dose boost, or reassessing the modality of treatment (eg, upfront surgery). Findings from reported trials suggest room for improvement in clinical response assessment after induction chemotherapy, but an optimal method has yet to be identified. Historically, indices of treatment efficacy in solid tumors have been based solely on systematic assessment of tumor size. However, functional imaging (eg, fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) potentially provides an earlier indication of response to treatment than conventional imaging techniques. More advanced imaging techniques are still in an exploratory phase and are not ready for use in clinical practice.
- fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET)
- head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
- induction chemotherapy
- response assessment