Recurrent Metastatic Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Salivary Gland Cancer – Two approved drugs demonstrated promising efficacy


This phase II trial was designed to evaluate the benefit of Keytruda® plus Zolinza® for recurrent Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma, HNSCC and Salivary Gland Cancer, SGC.

Among patients with HNSCC, there were no complete remissions but 32% of patients experienced a partial response and a further 20% had stable disease.

16% of patients with salivary gland cancer experienced a partial response while 56% had stable disease.


25 HNSCC and 25 SGC patients were enrolled to the study. The most common adverse events were renal insufficiency, fatigue and nausea. There were 3 deaths on study.

Responses to the two drug combination in HN were: partial response in 32% of patients, stable disease in 20% of patients.

Efficacy in SGC: Partial response in 16% of patients and disease stabilization in 56% of patients. In the HNSCC group, median overall survival was 12.6 months and median time until disease progression was 4.5 months. In SGC, the median overall survival was 14.0 months, and median time until disease progression was 6.9 months.


This combination demonstrated activity in HNSCC, with fewer responses in SGC. Toxicities were higher than reported with Keytruda® alone.



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