EORTC Head and Neck Group aims to contribute to better patient management of the disease by validating new treatments. And to improve the understanding of this group of diseases by examining why individuals respond in a certain way to therapy. The research focuses on five main areas:

  • early stage oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma,
  • locally advanced pharyngolaryngeal squamous cell carcinoma,
  • pre-operative oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma,
  • recurrent and/or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma and salivary gland tumours and
  • Quality of Life in this group of patients.

Main Achievements

A pioneering EORTC study demonstrated that a larynx preservation strategy provides similar overall survival rates compared with conventional treatment with total laryngectomy, and allowed two-thirds of the survivors to retain their larynx in patients with locally-advanced hypopharyngeal cancer.

In parallel, our research established, in the framework of larynx preservation protocols, the EORTC neo-adjuvant triple drug as the standard of care in locally-advanced unresectable laryngeal and hypopharyngeal tumours.

EORTC also contributed to the validation of alternated fractionation radiotherapy regimen, resulting in a 19% improved loco-regional control rate in patients with T2-T3, N0-N1 oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma.

The group also established post-operative radiotherapy (66 Gy in 6.5 weeks) with concurrent administration of high dose cisplatin as the standard of care for patients with locally-advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma with R1 resection.

Related Projects

  • ERP 456 and 459: Translational research linked to afatinib window trial (EORTC 90111) (project leaders: Lisa Licitra and Jean-Pascal Machiels)
    Translational research is currently ongoing at the laboratories in UCL Brussels and IT Milano. RP 1353: 24971-TR project for evaluation of the association of tumor HPV and p16 status with progression-free survival among patients with stage III or IV HNSCC (project leader: Amanda Psyrri)
  • Manuscript has been submitted for publication. RP 1237: 24971 – Prognostic factor analysis (project leader: Jan B. Vermorken)Additional work is required as statistical properties of the prognostic models tested are not adequate; objectives of the modeling need to be reconsidered.
  • RP 1473: The implementation of a newly established therapeutic model in patients with head and neck cancer in real-world cancer care (project leader: Lifang Liu, from EORTC HQ)
    The case study is being further developed by the Belgian Cancer Registry with no significant involvement of EORTC at the moment.

European Reference Networks (ERN) for rare solid tumours (EURACAN). EURACAN is involving references centers in Europe covering ten types of rare cancers. EURACAN will improve patient cares and facilitate research in rare cancers.  EORTC is providing the clinical research infrastructure. (No website available yet)

Research Group

Group documents
  • Chair

    Jean-Pascal Machiels

    Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc

    Brussels, Belgium

  • Secretary

    Sjoukje Oosting

    University Medical Center Groningen

    Groningen, Netherlands

  • Treasurer

    Guy Andry

    Institut Jules Bordet

    Brussels, Belgium

Subcommittee Representatives

  • A. Castro - Espargo - Santa Maria da Feira, PT

    Medical Oncology

    Lenitudes Research and Medical Center

  • E. Ozsahin - Lausanne, CH


    Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois

  • L. Locati - Milan, IT

    Endocrine Tumours Group representative

    Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori

  • K. Hunter - Sheffield, GB

    Pathobiology Group Representative

    University of Liverpool

  • I. Tinhofer - Berlin, DE

    Translational Research

    Charite - Universitaetsmedizin Berlin

  • R. Lhommel - Brussels, BE

    Imaging Group Representative

    Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc

  • A. Dietz - Leipzig, DE


    Universitaetsklinikum Leipzig

  • P. Szturz - Lausanne, CH

    Young Investigator

    Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois

  • E. Orlandi - Pavia, IT

    Radiation Oncology Science Council representative

    entro Nazionale di Adroterapia Oncoloica par il trattamento dei tumori

  • K. Taylor - Mainz, DE

    Quality of Life

    Univ Mainz - Institut fuer Medizinische -Biometrie, Epidemiologie und informatik

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