Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in Head and Neck Cancer: Understanding the Current Evidence and Future Directions

In this archived CME-certified symposium Webcast, 3 experts on head and neck cancers examine the rationale for using checkpoint inhibitors in advanced HNSCC, provide practical guidance for their clinical use, and discuss promising near-future immunotherapies for HNSCC.
Barbara Burtness, MD
Program Director
Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD
Cristina P. Rodriguez, MD
Physicians: maximum of 2.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits
Released: August 8, 2019 Expiration: August 7, 2020

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this activity, participants should be able to:
  • Gain insight on the role of the immune system and immune escape in HNSCC, along with the mechanisms of action of different immune modulatory agents
  • Plan therapeutic strategies for patients with recurrent or metastatic HNSCC that has progressed on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy
  • Evaluate the latest science and clinical trial results of immune checkpoint inhibitors in adjuvant and neoadjuvant settings and alone or in combination with radiotherapy or biotherapy across all indications
  • Identify patients who would benefit from immunotherapy based on optimal assessment of predictive biomarkers
  • Manage immune-related toxicities associated with immune checkpoint inhibitors in patients with HNSCC

Information on this Educational Activity

Clinical Care Options, LLC (CCO) requires instructors, planners, managers, and other individuals who are in a position to control the content of this activity to disclose any relevant conflict of interest (COI) they may have as related to the content of this activity. All identified COI are thoroughly vetted and resolved according to CCO policy. CCO is committed to providing its learners with high-quality CME/CE activities and related materials that promote improvements or quality in healthcare and not a specific proprietary business interest of a commercial interest.

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/CE activity:

Program Director

Barbara Burtness, MD

Professor of Medicine 
Yale University School of Medicine
Co-Leader, Developmental Therapeutics Program
Yale Cancer Center
New Haven, Connecticut

Barbara Ann Burtness, MD, has disclosed she has received funds for research support from Cue Biopharma, consulting fees and other financial or material support from Merck, and consulting fees from Aduro, Alligator Biosciences, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Cue Biopharma, GlaxoSmithKline, Maverick, and MedImmune.


Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Hillman Professor of Oncology
Associate Vice Chancellor for Cancer Research
Tumor Microenvironment Center
Profressor of Otolaryngology, of Immunology, and of Radiation Oncology
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD, has disclosed that he has received consulting fees from Amgen, AstraZeneca/MedImmune, Bain Capital Life Sciences, Bristol-Myers Squibb, EMD Serono, GlaxoSmithKline, Iovance, Lilly, Merck, Numab, Oncorus, Ono, Pfizer, PPD, Regeneron, Tesaro, TTMS, and VentiRx and funds for research support from AstraZeneca/MedImmune, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Merck.
Cristina P. Rodriguez, MD

Associate Professor
Department of Medicine
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington

Cristina P. Rodriguez, MD, has disclosed that she has received consulting fees from Cue Biopharma and funds for research support paid to her institution from AstraZeneca, Ayala, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Merck and that her spouse has received consulting fees from AstraZeneca and Merck and funds for research support paid to his institution from Acerta, AstraZeneca, Genentech, Incyte, Merck, Pharmacyclics, Portola, and Seattle Genetics.


Terrence Fagan

Associate Scientific Director

Terrence Fagan has no relevant conflicts of interest to report.
Timothy A. Quill, PhD

Associate Director, Scientific Services

Timothy A. Quill, PhD, has no relevant conflicts of interest to report.
Gordon Kelley

Senior Clinical Editor

Gordon Kelley has no relevant conflicts of interest to report.
Kevin Obholz, PhD

Senior Director, Educational Strategy

Kevin Obholz, PhD, has no relevant conflicts of interest to report.
June Wasserstrom

Director, CME Program Development

June Wasserstrom has no relevant conflicts of interest to report.
Tina B. Stacy, PharmD, FACEHP, BCOP, CHCP

Executive Vice President, Educational Strategy
General Manager, Oncology

Tina B. Stacy, PharmD, FACEHP, BCOP, CHCP, has no relevant conflicts of interest to report.

Disclosure of Unlabeled Use

This educational activity may contain discussion of published and/or investigational uses of agents that are not indicated by the FDA. The planners of this activity do not recommend the use of any agent outside of the labeled indications.

The opinions expressed in the educational activity are those of the faculty and do not necessarily represent the views of the planners. Please refer to the official prescribing information for each product for discussion of approved indications, contraindications, and warnings.


Participants have an implied responsibility to use the newly acquired information to enhance patient outcomes and their own professional development. The information presented in this activity is not meant to serve as a guideline for patient management. Any procedures, medications, or other courses of diagnosis or treatment discussed or suggested in this activity should not be used by clinicians without evaluation of their patient’s conditions and possible contraindications and/or dangers in use, review of any applicable manufacturer’s product information, and comparison with recommendations of other authorities.

Target Audience

This program is intended for physicians and other healthcare providers who care for patients with head and neck cancer.


The goal of this activity is to improve participants’ knowledge of, confidence in, and competence in integrating immunotherapy into the treatment of patients with head and neck cancer.


Joint Accreditation Statement

In support of improving patient care, Clinical Care Options, LLC (CCO) 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.

Physician Continuing Medical Education

Credit Designation

CCO designates this enduring material for a maximum of 2.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Program Medium

This program has been made available online.

Instructions for Credit

Participation in this self-study activity should be completed in approximately 2.0 hours. To successfully complete this activity and receive credit, participants must follow these steps during the period from August 08, 2019, through August 07, 2020:

1. Register online at
2. Read the target audience, learning objectives, and faculty disclosures.
3. Study the educational activity online or printed out.
4. Submit answers to the posttest questions and evaluation questions online.

You must receive a test score of at least 65% and respond to all evaluation questions to receive a certificate. After submitting the evaluation, you may access your online certificate by selecting the certificate link on the posttest confirmation page. Records of all CME/CE activities completed can be found on the "CME/CE Manager" page. There are no costs/fees for this activity.

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Sophia Kelley

Supported by an educational grant from
Merck & Co., Inc.

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