Understanding Treatment Strategies for Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck

This activity was released on 12/13/2016 and is valid for one year. Requests for credit must be made no later than 12/12/2017. Estimated completion time: 45 minutes.

This activity contains:

  • CME/CPE/CNE-Certified Virtual Grand Rounds
  • Downloadable transcript (a non-certified educational resource)
  • Downloadable Slide Deck with Facilitator’s Guide (a non-certified educational resource)

The goal of this activity is to close educational gaps by providing clinicians with the latest evidence-based data about current and emerging agents and multidisciplinary approaches for the treatment of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

Activity Overview
The complexity of managing squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) requires a multidisciplinary team. Support and services for the treatment of patients with SCCHN may include nutritional support, speech and swallowing therapy, and dental care, among others. Additionally, the American Cancer Society published new guidelines for head and neck cancer survivorship care in March 2016. 

Standard treatments for SCCHN include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. These options have shown to be very effective and safe; however, because SCCHN is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, with a poor prognosis, new treatment options are needed. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed in more than 90% of cases of SCCHN, which has led to the development of EGFR inhibitors, such as cetuximab. Newer data regarding novel/new uses of cetuximab for SCCHN have been reported. In August 2016, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to pembrolizumab, a checkpoint inhibitor, for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic SCCHN with disease progression on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy. In November 2016, the FDA approved nivolumab for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic SCCHN with disease progression on or after a platinum-based therapy. In addition, there are other checkpoint inhibitors being investigated in clinical trials for SCCHN, such as durvalumab and avelumab.

Because of the fast pace of developments in this area, it is difficult for clinicians to remain up-to-date regarding these important topics, making it challenging to provide state-of-the-art care to their patients. This activity will improve clinicians’ understanding of multidisciplinary treatment and management strategies with current and emerging therapies for SCCHN.

Target Audience

This activity is intended for medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists, advanced practice nurses, registered nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers who treat head and neck cancer.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, participants should be better able to:

  • Discuss multidisciplinary approaches to identification, treatment, and management of SCCHN
  • Develop a survivorship care plan for patients with SCCHN according to guidelines
  • Identify appropriate therapeutic options for patients with SCCHN based on emerging clinical data for current therapeutic options
  • Evaluate emerging evidence on novel immunotherapies for the treatment of SCCHN
  • Describe the potential impact novel immunotherapies may have on the current standard of care for SCCHN

The Downloadable Slide Deck and accompanying speaker notes can be used as a self-study resource to assist in reinforcing key learning points from the activity or for you to incorporate into additional staff education.

The Facilitator’s Guide provides guidance on how to implement the educational activity into staff education.

Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 0.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
  • 0.75 ANCC
  • 0.75 Attendance
Course opens: 
Course expires: 



Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD
UPMC Endowed Professor and Vice-Chair
Chief, Division of Head and Neck Surgery
Associate Director for Translational Research
Co-Leader, Cancer Immunology Program
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Continuing Education
Accreditation Statement
In support of improving patient care, AXIS Medical Education is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

Credit Designation for Physicians
AXIS Medical Education designates this enduring material for a maximum of 0.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Credit Designation for Pharmacists
This knowledge-based activity is approved for 0.75 contact hours of continuing pharmacy education credit. UAN 0592-0000-16-020-H01-P.

Pharmacists: Upon completion of this activity you will receive a message stating your certificate is not available. This is due to the NABP/ACPE CPE Monitor process. Your record will be uploaded to CPE Monitor within 60 days.

Credit Designation for Nursing
AXIS Medical Education designates this continuing nursing education activity for 0.75 contact hours.

Learners are advised that accredited status does not imply endorsement by the provider or ANCC of any commercial products displayed in conjunction with an activity.

Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest
AXIS Medical Education requires instructors, planners, managers, and other individuals and their spouse/life partner who are in a position to control the content of this activity to disclose any real or apparent conflict of interest they may have as related to the content of this activity. All identified conflicts of interest are thoroughly vetted by AXIS for fair balance, scientific objectivity of studies mentioned in the materials or used as the basis for content, and appropriateness of patient care recommendations. 

AXIS will identify, review, and resolve all conflicts of interest that faculty, authors, activity directors, planners, managers, peer reviewers, or relevant staff disclose prior to an educational activity being delivered to learners. Disclosure of a relationship is not intended to suggest or condone bias in any presentation but is made to provide participants with information that might be of potential importance to their evaluation of a presentation. Disclosure information for speakers, authors, course directors, planners, peer reviewers, and/or relevant staff is provided with this activity. 

The faculty reported the following financial relationships or relationships to products or devices they or their spouse/life partner have with commercial interests related to the content of this CME activity:

Name of Faculty or PresenterReported Financial Relationship

Robert L. Ferris, M.D., Ph.D.

Speakers' bureau of Bristol Myers Squibb Company, Merck & Co, Inc., AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, LP/MedImmune, Pfizer, Advaxis; Received research grant from Merck & Co, Inc., Bristol Myers Squibb Company, AstraZeneca Pharmacueticals, LP/MedImmune; Contracted Research from Merck & Co, Inc., Bristol Myers Squibb Company, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, LP/MedImmune.

The planners and managers reported the following financial relationships or relationships they or their spouse/life partner have with commercial interests related to the content of this continuing education activity:

The following AXIS planners and managers, Linda Gracie-King, MS; Ronald Viggiani, MD; Jocelyn Timko, BS; Stephanie Sutphin, PharmD; and Marilyn Haas, PhD, RN, CNS, ANP-BC; hereby state that they or their spouse/life partner do not have any financial relationships or relationships to products or devices with any commercial interest of any amount during the past 12 months.

This activity is supported by an educational grant from Lilly.  For further information concerning Lilly grant funding visit www.lillygrantoffice.com

There is no fee for this educational activity.

This activity is provided by:

AXIS 1471

Available Credit

  • 0.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
  • 0.75 ANCC
  • 0.75 Attendance

Accreditation Period

Course opens: 
Course expires: 


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