Vaccine a promising immunotherapy option for head and neck cancer patients

  • Syed Fareed Mohsin Qassim University
Keywords: Checkpoint receptors, Head and neck cancer, Immunotherapy, Therapeutic Vaccine


Head and neck cancer (HNC) is a diversified group of tumors arising from the upper aerodigestive tract, encompassing the oral cavity, larynx, and pharynx. Globally, this particular cancer ranks sixth in prevalence, resulting in an annual mortality rate above 325,000 individuals. Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are the primary therapeutic options for HNC, which are frequently used in combination. Despite their extensive use, these treatments are typically unsuccessful and can significantly impair patient quality of life. Therapeutic vaccinations are administered to cancer patients instead of preventative immunizations administered to a healthy population. The efficacy of this modality has considerably transformed the application and success of cancer management by providing an additional and effective therapeutic option for patients. Cancer treatment has been revolutionized by introducing Immune Checkpoint receptors inhibitors (ICR), such as anti-CTLA4, anti-PD-1, and anti-PD-L1.3. ICR have also established immunity against self-generated cancerous cells. Cancer vaccines have shown extraordinary synergistic potential with checkpoint inhibitors to maximize tumor-specific CD8+ expansion and activity, which detects and destroys tumor cells. Personalized neoantigen vaccination therapies can potentially combat the heterogeneity of each patient’s tumor. The findings of this review suggest that recent advances in cancer immunology and genetics imply that cancer vaccination can be a promising alternative treatment for head and neck cancer patients. This review conducted a comprehensive literature search to identify relevant studies on immunotherapy options for head and neck cancer patients. The search strategy was designed to capture a wide range of peer-reviewed articles, conference proceedings, and grey literature from 2013 to 2023. The databases searched to ensure comprehensive coverage of the literature included PubMed, Web of Science, and Google Scholar; to include grey literature and articles not indexed in traditional databases.

doi: https://doi.org10.12669/pjms.40.7.8791

How to cite this: Mohsin SF. Vaccine a promising immunotherapy option for head and neck cancer patients. Pak J Med Sci. 2024;40(7):1578-1583.  doi:

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

How to Cite
Mohsin, S. F. (2024). Vaccine a promising immunotherapy option for head and neck cancer patients. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, 40(7).
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