Locally advanced HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer cured with single agent pembrolizumab in a patient using cannabis: a case report

The success of smoking cessation programs is inarguable and has saved thousands of lives by decreasing the incidence of deadly malignancies, including head and neck cancer. Meanwhile, we are witnessing an increasing incidence of human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC), especially in a population of older Caucasian males. Approval and use of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI), such as pembrolizumab, have resulted in improved outcomes in patients with HPV-induced OPSCC. It is successfully used in the treatment of recurrent and metastatic disease with meaningful improvements in overall survival. However, concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) remains the conventional first-line treatment of locally advanced disease in eligible patients and is associated with substantial morbidity.

The effect of concomitant cannabinoids during immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment of advanced stage malignancy.

Authors: Adam Biedny, Susan Szpunar, Ahmed Abdalla, Zyad Kafri, Tarik H. Hadid Published in Journal of Clinical Oncology May 2020   Abstract Background: Immune checkpoint inhibitors are used in treatment…