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EORTC research in Head and Neck cancer aims to contribute to better patient management at various stages of disease by promoting and validating new treatments, and to improve the understanding of this group of diseases by examining why individuals respond in a certain way to therapy. The research focuses on five main areas:

  • early stage oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma,
  • locally advanced pharyngolaryngeal squamous cell carcinoma,
  • pre-operative oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma,
  • recurrent and/or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma and salivary gland tumours and
  • Quality of Life in this group of patients.

Main Achievements

A pioneering EORTC study demonstrated that a larynx preservation strategy provides similar overall survival rates compared with conventional treatment with total laryngectomy, and allowed two-thirds of the survivors to retain their larynx in patients with locally-advanced hypopharyngeal cancer. (link to publication)

In parallel, our research established, in the framework of larynx preservation protocols, the EORTC neo-adjuvant triple drug as the standard of care in locally-advanced unresectable laryngeal and hypopharyngeal tumours. (link to publication)

EORTC also contributed to the validation of alternated fractionation radiotherapy regimen, resulting in a 19% improved loco-regional control rate in patients with T2-T3, N0-N1 oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. (link to publication)

The group also established post-operative radiotherapy (66 Gy in 6.5 weeks) with concurrent administration of high dose cisplatin as the standard of care for patients with locally-advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma with R1 resection. (link to publication)

Related Projects

  • ERP 456 and 459: Translational research linked to afatinib window trial (EORTC 90111) (project leaders: Lisa Licitra and Jean-Pascal Machiels)
    The laboratories in Brussels and Milan are performing the translational research and will present an update during the spring 2017 group meeting.
  • RP 1353: 24971-TR project for evaluation of the association of tumor HPV and p16 status with progression-free survival among patients with stage III or IV HNSCC (project leader: Amanda Psyrri)
    Manuscript is written and under review by co-authors before submission.
  • RP 1237: 24971 – Prognostic factor analysis (project leader: Jan B. Vermorken)
    Additional work is required as statistical properties of the prognostic models tested are not adequate; objectives of the modeling need to be reconsidered.
  • RP 1473: The implementation of a newly established therapeutic model in patients with head and neck cancer in real-world cancer care (project leader: Lifang Liu, from EORTC HQ)
    The case study is being further developed by the Belgian Cancer Registry with no significant involvement of EORTC at the moment.

Research Group

Group documents
  • Chair

    Vincent Grégoire

    Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc

    Brussels, Belgium

  • Secretary

    Silke Tribius

    Asklepios Klinik St. Georg
    Hermann-Holthusen-Institute of Radiation Oncology

    Hamburg, Germany

  • Treasurer

    Guy Andry

    Institut Jules Bordet

    Brussels, Belgium

Subcommittee Representatives

  • S. Oosting - Groningen, NL

    Medical oncology

    University Medical Center Groningen

  • I. Tinhofer - Berlin, DE

    Translational Research

    Charite - Universitaetsmedizin Berlin

  • A. Dietz - Leipzig, DE


    Universitaetsklinikum Leipzig

  • E. Ozsahin - Lausanne, CH


    Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois

  • S. Singer - Mainz, DE

    Quality of Life

    Johannes Gutenberg Universitaetskliniken - Mainz University Medical Center

  • A. Ferreira - Porto, PT

    Young investigator

    Instituto Portugues De Oncologia - Centro Do Porto

  • R. Lhommel - Brussels, BE

    Imaging group representative

    Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc

  • K. Hunter - Sheffield, GB

    Pathobiology group representative

    Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology diagnostic service - The School of Clinical Dentistry - University of Sheffield