Until recently, SCCHN treatment lacked promising late-phase agents; the only targeted therapy approved for the indication was Bristol-Myers Squibb/Eli Lilly/Merck KGaA’s Erbitux. However, the treatment algorithm is now rapidly evolving, driven by the approval of novel agents, including the market entry of two immune checkpoint inhibitors in the United States in 2016. Several areas of high unmet need—in particular, new treatment options for locoregionally advanced SCCHN—offer significant commercial opportunity for innovative agents. Multiple immune checkpoint inhibitor combination therapies are in late-phase development for SCCHN and could significantly alter the treatment paradigm. This content provides insight on how treatment options for SCCHN are likely to change over the 2015-2025 forecast period. It also analyzes the current and future sales potential of drugs already in the market and those expected to be approved during the forecast period for SCCHN.

Questions Answered:

  • The first immune checkpoint inhibitor for SCCHN was approved in August 2016. How will the treatment algorithm of SCCHN change as a result of this approval? Which other immune checkpoint inhibitors are most promising in SCCHN? For which patient populations are immune checkpoint inhibitors most likely to be used? What will be the impact on the SCCHN market?
  • We forecast the uptake of six immune checkpoint inhibitors for SCCHN. How do physicians anticipate using these agents? How will the entry of these agents affect the use of other therapies in these settings?  How do the various agents differ?
  • Increasing treatment options for recurrent or metastatic SCCHN mean that the historical treatment algorithm for the indication is being overhauled. How will the approvals of Merck & Co’s Keytruda and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo affect the recurrent or metastatic treatment algorithm? How will future approvals and label extensions of both agents influence treatment dynamics? 
  • Despite representing the largest drug-treatable population, the locoregionally advanced (stage III/IVa/IVb) SCCHN population has few novel treatment options.  Are new agents targeting this patient population? What therapies hold the most promise in this setting? How do physicians perceive the development of immune checkpoint inhibitors in this setting?


Markets covered: United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Japan.

Primary research: 22 country-specific interviews with experts.

Epidemiology: Incidence of localized (stage I and II), locoregionally advanced  (III, IVa, and IVb), and metastatic (stage IVc); progressed incidence of stage IVc SCCHN.

Population segments in market forecast: Non-nasopharyngeal locoregionally advanced SCCHN, non-nasopharyngeal first-line  recurrent or metastatic SCCHN, non-nasopharyngeal second-line recurrent or metastatic SCCHN, non-nasopharyngeal second-line recurrent or metastatic SCCHN, nasopharyngeal locoregionally advanced SCCHN, nasopharyngeal first-line recurrent or metastatic SCCHN, nasopharyngeal second-line recurrent or metastatic SCCHN, and third-line recurrent or metastatic SCCHN.

Emerging therapies: Phase II: 58 drugs; Phase III: 19 drugs; registered: 8 drugs.

Market forecast features: Using a proprietary patient-flow model incorporating mortality, we forecast drug-treatable population sizes and drug sales for all patient segments annually through 2025.

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