Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer Publishes First Clinical Immunotherapy Treatment Guidelines for Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck

July 18, 2019

MILWAUKEE – The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) has published the first clinical immunotherapy treatment guidelines for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC), providing oncologists and other advanced practice providers a clinical roadmap to treating this disease with immunotherapies approved in the United States.

The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer consensus statement on immunotherapy for the treatment of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC),” authored under the guidance of the SITC Cancer Immunotherapy Guidelines Head and Neck Cancer Subcommittee, was published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (JITC), the society’s open access, peer-reviewed online journal.

“Immunotherapies addressed an urgent need for new treatments for patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC), a disease setting that hadn’t gained a new treatment option since 2006,” said Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD, chair of the SITC Cancer Immunotherapy Guidelines Head and Neck Cancers Subcommittee. “Now that these groundbreaking immunotherapies are FDA-approved and available for such patients, our SITC subcommittee developed this manuscript to help educate clinicians on their appropriate use as well as unique caveats that might arise during treatment.”

The SITC guidelines include expert consensus recommendations that serve to better inform clinicians regarding many aspects of patient management throughout treatment with immunotherapy. The publication includes consensus statements on treatment scheduling of U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved immunotherapies, the use of predictive biomarkers and appropriate patient testing and management of immune-related adverse events. The manuscript also discusses how best to evaluate patient response to immunotherapy and whether patients with autoimmune disorders should be candidates for such treatments.

“SITC is home to many of the world’s leaders in cancer immunotherapy, and now with the incorporation of immunotherapy into the management of almost every type of cancer, we are also home to many of the world’s experts on treatment of specific cancers,” said SITC President Mario Sznol, MD. “These immunotherapy and cancer experts have worked to create clinical practice immunotherapy guidelines which we are now extending into head and neck cancers. The guidelines will inform clinicians on how to strategically and safely administer these treatments for their patients.”

SITC to Host Free Webinar on Guidelines with Leading Experts

Oncologists, nurses and other members of the cancer care team can continue their learning by participating in a free SITC webinar dedicated to discussion of the HNSCC guidelines on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 at 3 p.m. EDT. The following experts will present during the free webinar and lead a question-and-answer session with participants: Ezra Cohen, MD (University of California San Diego); Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD (UPMC Hillman Cancer Center); Quynh-Thu Le, MD, FACR, FASTRO (Stanford University) Rom Leidner, MD (Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, Providence Cancer Center); and Ravindra Uppaluri, MD, PhD (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute).

Details of this webinar, including how attendees can register, are available on the SITC website, SITC Cancer Immunotherapy CONNECT.

The SITC Cancer Immunotherapy Guidelines are a collection of unbiased consensus statements developed by leading experts to help oncologists determine when and how to best use immunotherapy to treat their patients. The HNSCC consensus statement is the society’s sixth manuscript published in its SITC Cancer Immunotherapy Guidelines series, which also consists of treatment recommendations for cutaneous melanoma, renal cell, prostate and bladder carcinomas, non-small cell lung cancer and hematologic malignancies. Additional guidelines are in development for disease states that include acute leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma and immune-related adverse events.

About SITC
Established in 1984, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) is a nonprofit organization of medical professionals dedicated to improving cancer patient outcomes by advancing the development, science and application of cancer immunotherapy and tumor immunology. SITC is comprised of influential basic and translational scientists, practitioners, health care professionals, government leaders and industry professionals around the globe. Through educational initiatives that foster scientific exchange and collaboration among leaders in the field, SITC aims to one day make the word “cure” a reality for cancer patients everywhere. Learn more about SITC, our educational offerings and other resources at and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.

About JITC
Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (JITC) is the official open access, peer-reviewed online journal of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer featuring an impact factor of 8.676. The journal publishes high-quality articles on all aspects of tumor immunology and cancer immunotherapy, on subjects across the basic science-translational-clinical spectrum. JITC publishes original research articles, literature reviews, position papers and practice guidelines, and case reports; invited commentaries may also be commissioned by the journal editors. These articles, freely accessible at, make JITC the leading forum for tumor immunology and cancer immunotherapy research.

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