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NCI Cancer Center News

Clinical trial comparing combination therapies for advanced head and neck cancer shows no improvement

  • Posted: March 8, 2013

In the case of head and neck cancer, one of the great questions of the current day is whether or not addition of multiple drugs to radiation therapy is superior to the current standard of care therapy with one drug and radiation.  In particular, physicians have wondered if the addition of the more tolerable targeted biologic therapy to chemotherapy results in improved patient outcomes.  Unfortunately, the data suggest that it does not. Institutions participating in the clinical study were: the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle; Multicare Health Systems in Covington, Washington; University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston; the University of Miami in Florida; Coastal Carolina Radiation Oncology in Wilmington, North Carolina; and the University of Tennessee in Memphis.

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Among the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 67 as Cancer Centers. Largely based in research universities, these facilities are home to many of the NCI-supported scientists who conduct a wide range of intense, laboratory research into cancer’s origins and development. The Cancer Centers Program also focuses on trans-disciplinary research, including population science and clinical research. The centers’ research results are often at the forefront of studies in the cancer field.