Targeted therapies have made their way into clinical practice during the past decade. They have caused a major impact on the survival of cancer patients in many areas of clinical oncology and hematology. Indeed, in some hematologic malignancies, such as chronic myelogenous leukemia or non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, biologicals and antibodies specifically designed to target tumour-specific proteins have revolutionized treatment standards. In solid tumours, new drugs targeting EGF- or VEGF- receptors are now approved and are entering clinical practise for treatment of colon, lung, kidney and other cancers, either alone or in combination with conventional treatment approaches. Recent data have now shown that molecular targeted therapy might display efficacy in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) as well. The evaluated biologicals are generally well tolerated from HNSCC patients, who usually have the burden of multiple co-morbidities that interfere with conventional systemic treatment options. Therefore, molecular targeted therapies offer new treatment options even for heavily pretreated and seriously ill patients usually unable to tolerate chemotherapy or radiation therapy. The two most promising and advanced strategies are the blockage of growth-factor based cellular signalling and interference with angiogenesis-related pathways. But inhibitors of alternative targets, such as Scr and proteasomes, have already been evaluated in early clinical trials with HNSCC patients.
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