BURLINGTON, Mass., Feb. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms focusing on pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that the market for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) in the United States and Europe will continue to face a high unmet need for targeted therapies aimed at specific subsets of patients, including those with human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive disease. According to interviewed experts, although emerging therapies are being studied in patients with known HPV or EBV status, the pipeline for drug development in these areas remains sluggish.
"Extending overall survival remains an important unmet need among SCCHN patients and will likely be achieved by identifying and targeting treatments based on a patient's specific tumor biology," said Decision Resources Analyst Regina Jammen, M.S. "Although HPV, EBV and EGFR (epithelial growth factor [receptor]) are validated biomarkers, knowledge of such tumor characteristics does not necessarily inform treatment choice at this time. Developing treatments based on a tumor's particular characteristics will likely optimize therapy and minimize over- and under-treatment. However, with few treatments expected to launch for SCCHN, a high level of unmet need will persist throughout our study period."
According to the Niche Markets and Rare Diseases report entitled Niche Markets and Rare Diseases: Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck, three therapies are expected to launch over the forecast period for treatment of SCCHN – Boehringer Ingelheim's Tovok/Tomtovok (afatinib), CEL-SCI's Multikine and Oncolytics Biotech's Reolysin – each from a different drug class. Afatinib, an orally administered EGFR inhibitor, will find broad use across several subsets of SCCHN patients. Reolysin, an oncolytic virus, will be used as a second-line therapy for patients with oropharynx, oral cavity, larynx and hypopharynx tumors or squamous cell nasopharynx cancer. And, Multikine, a novel agent with immunostimulatory activity, could address some of the unmet needs of patients with stage III and IVA oral cavity and soft palate tumors.
"Afatinib and Reolysin will expand the second-line treatment options for patients with recurrent/metastatic disease," said Ms. Jammen. "But, none of the three new therapies will dramatically change current treatment practices."
About Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck
Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck is offered as part of Decision Resources' Niche Markets and Rare Diseases service. Each report assesses opportunity in a select drug market across the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. The report provides detailed coverage of patient populations, current therapies, unmet needs and emerging therapies, and includes primary research with country-specific thought leaders.
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