Management of Older Patients with Head and Neck Cancer: A Comprehensive Review

Leandro L. Matos, Alvaro Sanabria, K. Thomas Robbins, Gyorgy B. Halmos, Primož Strojan, Wai Tong Ng, Robert P. Takes, Peter Angelos, Cesare Piazza, Remco de Bree, Ohad Ronen, Orlando Guntinas-Lichius, Avraham Eisbruch, Mark Zafereo, Antti A. Mäkitie, Ashok R. Shaha, Andres Coca-Pelaz, Alessandra Rinaldo, Nabil F. Saba, Oded CohenFernando Lopez, Juan P. Rodrigo, Carl E. Silver, Timo E. Strandberg, Luiz Paulo Kowalski, Alfio Ferlito

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The projected increase in life expectancy over the next few decades is expected to result in a rise in age-related diseases, including cancer. Head and neck cancer (HNC) is a worldwide health problem with high rates of morbidity and mortality. In this report, we have critically reviewed the literature reporting the management of older patients with HNC. Older adults are more prone to complications and toxicities secondary to HNC treatment, especially those patients who are frail or have comorbidities. Thus, this population should be screened prior to treatment for such predispositions to maximize medical management of comorbidities. Chronologic age itself is not a reason for choosing less intensive treatment for older HNC patients. Whenever possible, also older patients should be treated according to the best standard of care, as nonstandard approaches may result in increased treatment failure rates and mortality. The treatment plan is best established by a multidisciplinary tumor board with shared decision-making with patients and family. Treatment modifications should be considered for those patients who have severe comorbidities, evidence of frailty (low performance status), or low performance status or those who refuse the recommendations of the tumor board.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1957-1974
Number of pages18
JournalAdvances in Therapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Healthcare Ltd., part of Springer Nature.


  • Comorbidities
  • Complications
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Old age
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment


Dive into the research topics of 'Management of Older Patients with Head and Neck Cancer: A Comprehensive Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this