Current Trends in Precision Medicine and Next-Generation Sequencing in Head and Neck Cancer

Roberto N. Solis, Dustin A. Silverman, Andrew C. Birkeland

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


As the field of oncology enters the era of precision medicine and targeted therapies, we have come to realize that there may be no single “magic bullet” for patients with head and neck cancer. While immune check point inhibitors and some targeted therapeutics have shown great promise in improving oncologic outcomes, the current standard of care in most patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) remains a combination of surgery, radiation, and/or cytotoxic chemotherapy. Nevertheless, advances in precision medicine, next-generation sequencing (NGS), and targeted therapies have a potential future in the treatment of HNSCC. These roles include increased patient treatment stratification based on predictive biomarkers or targetable mutations and novel combinatorial regimens with existing HNSCC treatments. There remain challenges to precision medicine and NGS in HNSCC, including intertumor and intratumor heterogeneity, challenging targets, and need for further trials validating the utility of NGS and precision medicine. Additionally, there is a need for evidence-based practice guidelines to assist clinicians on how to appropriately incorporate NGS in care for HNSCC. In this review, we describe the current state of precision medicine and NGS in HNSCC and opportunities for future advances in this challenging but important field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-267
Number of pages14
JournalCurrent treatment options in oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Next-generation sequencing
  • Personalized medicine
  • Precision medicine head and neck cancer
  • Targeted therapies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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