Treatment of recurrent or metastatic non-nasopharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) has remained relatively unchanged in the past ten years, and Erbitux-based regimens continue to be the mainstay of treatment. However, the recent (2016 / 2018) approvals of immune checkpoint inhibitors are transforming the treatment algorithm; Merck & Co.’s Keytruda and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo have become good therapeutic options for previously treated recurrent or metastatic SCCHN. Despite the FDA’s approval in June 2019 to expand Keytruda’s label to recurrent or metastatic SCCHN with or without chemotherapy, more-efficacious first-line treatment options are needed.


  • What are the treatment drivers and goals in medical oncologists’ prescribing decisions for SCCHN? What are the hidden opportunities that developers could leverage?
  • How do key current therapies for SCCHN, such as Keytruda and Opdivo, perform on key clinical attributes for this patient population?
  • What are the greatest unmet needs and most attractive opportunities in treatingtheSCCHN patient population?
  • What trade-offs are surveyed oncologists willing to make across key drug attributes and price when considering hypothetical target product profiles for SCCHN?


Unmet Need supports clinical development decisions by identifying key attributes and assessing areas of unmet need for a specific disease or subpopulation. Based on surveys with U.S. and European physicians, this report provides insight into key treatment drivers and goals, the performance of current therapies, and the remaining commercial opportunities. Two market scenarios are profiled in detail by DRG experts, and additional customized market scenarios can be evaluated with the corresponding TPP simulator.

Markets covered: United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany

Primary research: Survey of 60 U.S. and 30 European medical oncologists

Key drugs: Erbitux, Keytruda, Opdivo

Table of contents

  • Detailed, Expanded Analysis: Recurrent or Metastatic Non-Nasopharyngeal SCCHN (US/EU)
    • Introduction
      • Overview
      • Methodology
      • Rationale for Treatment Drivers and Goals Selection
        • Efficacy
        • Safety and Tolerability
        • Convenience of Administration
      • Rationale for Drug Selection
    • Treatment Drivers and Goals
      • Key Findings: Attribute Importance
      • Key Findings: Stated vs. Derived Importance
    • Product Performance Against Treatment Drivers and Goals
      • Key Findings
    • Assessment of Unmet Need
      • Key Findings: Unmet Need in Recurrent or Metastatic Non-Nasopharyngeal SCCHN
      • Key Findings: Unmet Need in Recurrent or Metastatic Non-Nasopharyngeal SCCHN and Related Indications
    • Opportunity Analysis
      • Areas of Opportunity in the Recurrent or Metastatic Non-Nasopharyngeal SCCHN Market and Emerging Therapy Insights
        • Opportunity: A New Therapy Offering a Substantial Overall Survival Benefit
        • Opportunity: A New Therapy Offering a More-Durable Response
        • Opportunity: A Novel Therapy Offering Patients an Improved Quality of Life
    • Target Product Profiles
      • Assessing Drug Development Opportunities
      • Target Product Profile Methodology
      • Attribute Importance and Part-Worth Utilities
        • First-Line Recurrent or Metastatic Non-Nasopharyngeal SCCHN Target Product Profile: Attribute-Level Part-Worth Utilities
      • Conjoint Analysis-Based Simulations of Market Scenarios
        • Scenario 1
        • Scenario 2
    • Appendix
      • Bibliography

Author(s): Laura Vinuesa, DVM, MSc

Laura Vinuesa, DVM, is a Senior Business Insights Analyst in the Oncology Division at Decision Resources Group, with expertise in thyroid carcinoma and bladder cancer. Previously, Dr. Vinuesa was an EU Market Access Analyst in the Global Market Access Insights Team at Decision Resources Group. She has expertise in market access, pricing and reimbursement, health technology assessment, and health policy. Prior to joining Decision Resources, she worked as Market Access & Institutional Relations Analyst at Pfizer in Spain, providing support for the successful market launch of drugs for different areas: cardiovascular, oncology, mental disorder and rare disease. She is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the Complutense University of Madrid, and holds a in Clinical Research and Pharmaceutical Medicine from EPHOS - School of PharmaStudies. lvinuesa@

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