A meta-analysis showed that chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) improved survival in patients with advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). CCRT has become widely used in treating such patients. The purpose of CCRT in the treatment of resectable HNSCC is to improve survival while preserving organs and functions, and so CCRT is a potential alternative to surgery. However, problems regarding CCRT were revealed such as severe dysphasia and difficulty of salvage surgery. Recently, induction chemotherapy has attracted attention again, the purpose of which is to predict the response of subsequent CCRT or to improve outcomes. Moreover, chemotherapy is concurrently used with postoperative radiotherapy or definitively used for recurrent or metastatic HNSCC. In this article, we review the current state of chemotherapy for HNSCC and consider the problems in Japan.
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