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Dana-Farber announces Center for Salivary and Rare Head and Neck Cancers

New center offers unique treatment and research opportunities largely unavailable elsewhere

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has launched the Center for Salivary and Rare Head and Neck Cancers to treat patients with rare and occasionally aggressive cancers arising from the head and neck. The Center is among the first in the country specifically dedicated to the care and therapeutic research of this patient population.

Salivary and rare head and neck cancers account for an estimated 3-10% of all head and neck cancers, resulting in approximately 2,500 diagnoses annually in the United States. Treatment for these cancers is often complex, necessitating expert involvement from head and neck surgeons, radiation oncologists, and medical oncologists, but tumors arising from the saliva glands and other rare entities require even more centralized expertise to implement highly personalized treatment approaches.  

“Many rare head and neck cancers lack standard or FDA approved therapies for managing advanced or metastatic disease,” said Glenn Hanna, MD, physician at Dana-Farber and Director of the Center for Salivary and Rare Head and Neck Cancers. “Our Center addresses a pressing need to integrate both clinical and translational research efforts to improve outcomes for patients with the most challenging and complex head and neck cancer diagnoses – a group who have historically been underserved when it comes to options in their care.”  

The Center focuses on the following head and neck cancer types:

  • Salivary gland carcinomas (adenoid cystic carcinoma, salivary duct carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, mucoepidermoid carcinoma, and others)
  • NUT (midline) carcinoma
  • Olfactory neuroblastoma (esthesioneuroblastoma)
  • Sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma (SNUC)
  • Neuroendocrine tumors of the head and neck

In addition, the Center maintains a broad clinical trial portfolio aimed at developing novel therapies for these diseases in collaboration with Dana-Farber's experimental therapeutics program, the Center for Cancer Therapeutic Innovation (CCTI). The Center includes a team of translational laboratory investigators to identify therapeutic targets to ultimately bring into the clinic.

For more information on the Center for Salivary and Rare Head and Neck Cancers, please visit dana-farber.org/rareHNcancer.

Posted on October 05, 2020

  • Glenn J. Hanna, MD
  • Salivary Gland Cancer
  • Head and Neck Cancer

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