Squamous cell carcinoma is the most frequently occurring malignant tumor in the head and neck. More than 90% of SCCHNs originate from the mucosal linings of the oral cavity, pharynx, or larynx. The estimated worldwide incidence of SCCHN in 2012 was approximately 686,000, with approximately 375,000 deaths.1 Oral cavity cancer in particular is a significant and growing problem in many parts of the world, with an estimated annual incidence of around 275,000.2
For patients with surgically resectable SCCHN (stages II, III, and IVA), the standard of care is curative surgery followed by adjuvant treatment to reduce the risk of recurrence.3-5 Five-year survival rates are approximately 50%, and successfully treated patients may still have to cope with consequences of their treatment that affect appearance, function, and quality of life.6
Despite improvements in therapy, recurrent disease remains frequent and is generally treated with radiation therapy, chemotherapy, biological therapy, or a combination of these modalities.7 The prognosis in recurrent or metastatic disease is poor, with median survival less than 1 year.7
Clearly, better therapies in the first-line setting are needed.
IRX-2 is in clinical investigation to determine whether neoadjuvant and adjuvant treatment with IRX-2 in newly diagnosed SCCHN beginning before curative surgery can reduce the risk of recurrence.
IRX believes that by shifting the balance back to immunosurveillance, by overcoming cancer-induced immune suppression and restoring immune function, IRX-2 therapy can help activate an effective anticancer immune response against the tumor. This response may lead to reduced recurrence and increased survival through immune memory.
SCCHN: squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.