The role of chemotherapy in oral cancer is at present small but will continue to evolve even if only because drug companies will continue to seek new markets for existing products.
To date the impact of a range of drugs on oral cancer treatment has been very disappointing. Surgery and radiotherapy remain the two key treatment modalities on a curative basis.
Chemotherapy agents commonly used in head and neck cancer are 5-fluorouracil, cisplatin or carboplatin and methotrexate. EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) targeting drugs, tyrosine kinase inhibitors and taxanes have all been used in trials. Limited roles for cetuximab and taxanes have been identified.
Next section: Clinical application (Chemotherapy)