New advances are being incorporated into the radiochemotherapy treatment of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Although the overall prognosis is poor in advanced stages, the possibility of incorporating combined protocols of chemotherapy and radiotherapy for organ preservation or for palliation in cases of recurrent/locally advanced stages that are not good surgical candidates must not be forgotten. In this context, there is an urgent need to incorporate quality of life questionnaires and functional evaluation into organ-preservation studies, as well as to assure the importance of surgical salvage after radiotherapy and chemotherapy protocols. The authors provide an extensive review of the advances occurring in the nonsurgical treatment of head and neck cancer. Special attention is given to different radiotherapy protocols, new chemotherapy combinations, molecular markers, and molecular therapy as well as the possibility of incorporating re-irradiation and adjuvant therapy after surgery.
Chemotherapy; Radiotherapy; Head and neck cancer