Head & Neck Cancer Therapeutics Market: Top 3 Treatment Options


Characterized as a group of cancers of the mouth, nose, throat, or sinuses, head and neck cancer accounts for around 4% of all cancers in the United States. Moreover, an estimated 66,920 people are expected to be diagnosed with the condition in 2023. Although eliminating the malignancy is the primary goal of head and neck cancer treatment and therapeutics, preserving the function of the nearby organs, nerves, and tissues is also crucial. As per Inkwood Research, the global head & neck cancer therapeutics market is projected to grow with a CAGR of 8.60% between 2023 to 2032, reaching a revenue share of $3041.91 million by 2032.

The management of head and neck cancers involves a comprehensive approach, taking into account several crucial factors, including the cancer type, stage, the patient’s overall health, and individual preferences. Besides, the pivotal aspect of patient care in head and neck cancers is the collaboration of a multidisciplinary team of head and neck cancer specialists, ensuring that each patient receives personalized and well-coordinated treatment.

In this blog, we explore the top 3 treatment modalities available for head and neck cancer as well as their associated market developments – 

  • Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to target and destroy cancer cells, typically by inhibiting their growth, division, and ability to reproduce. The treatment typically follows a specific regimen, with a predetermined number of cycles administered over a set period. Although side effects of chemotherapy vary across patients and depend on the dosage administered, some complications include fatigue, nausea and vomiting, hair loss, increased susceptibility to infections, reduced appetite, and diarrhea. However, these reactions are often temporary and tend to lessen following the completion of treatment.
    • Market Observation – According to our analysis, the chemotherapy segment, under the treatment type category is set to record a CAGR of 8.70% between 2023 to 2032. 
    • Chemotherapy Product Developments – 
      • Eli Lilly and Co (United States) – The antifolate chemotherapeutic medication Alimta is used to treat malignant pleural mesothelioma and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
      • Amgen Inc (United States) – Neulasta is used to lower the risk of infection in chemotherapy patients and contains the active component pegfilgrastim. It helps promote the production of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, in the bone marrow.
      • Sanofi (France) – Head and neck cancers are among the major malignancies that can be treated with the chemotherapeutic medication Taxotere.
  • Immunotherapy – Immunotherapy utilizes the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer by improving the ability of the patient’s immune system to attack cancer cells. Presently, the immunotherapy drugs approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of metastatic or recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma include:
    • Pembrolizumab (Keytruda): Pembrolizumab can be used alone if the tumor expresses a specific level of the PD-L1 protein or if the cancer shows resistance to platinum-based chemotherapy. Additionally, it can be utilized in combination with chemotherapy, irrespective of the tumor’s PD-L1 expression. 
    • Nivolumab (Opdivo): Nivolumab is prescribed when the cancer continues to progress during platinum-based chemotherapy.

As per Inkwood Research, immunotherapy is set to be the fastest-growing treatment type, acquiring a CAGR of 9.16% during the forecast years of 2023 to 2032. The above-mentioned immunosuppressive agents, also known as immune checkpoint inhibitors, provide novel avenues for treating head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, empowering the immune system to target cancer cells more effectively. 

  • Targeted Therapy – Targeted therapy is a specialized treatment approach aimed at addressing the unique genes, proteins, or tissue environment that facilitate cancer growth and survival. The treatment impedes the proliferation and spread of cancer cells while minimizing harm to healthy cells by specifically targeting these factors. This personalized approach enables healthcare professionals to tailor treatment plans, optimizing the chances of success for each patient. 


Aligning with this, some of the major targeted therapies curated by major players operating in the global head & neck cancer therapeutics market include – 

    • AstraZeneca PLC (United Kingdom)Tagrisso is a targeted medication used for treating non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with specific epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene mutations. Administered orally, this drug plays a crucial role in inhibiting the multiplication and spread of cancer cells, effectively impeding the progression of the disease.
    • Eli Lilly and Co (United States)Retevmo is a targeted medication approved for the treatment of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC), metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and other malignancies with RET gene mutations.
    • F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd (Switzerland)Rituxan is a targeted therapy utilized for treating particular subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma. By binding to a specific protein known as CD20, which is found on the surface of malignant B cells, Rituxan effectively eliminates these cancerous cells.
    • Sanofi (France)Erbitux is a medication used in targeted therapy for the treatment of specific head and neck malignancies.


The head & neck cancer therapeutics market is beholding significant advancements in treatment options, ranging from traditional chemotherapy to innovative immunotherapy as well as targeted therapies. Additionally, the collaboration of multidisciplinary teams and the support of government initiatives have contributed to the growth of this vibrant ecosystem, encouraging the development of personalized and effective treatment plans.

For instance, the ‘Healthy China 2030’ entails key components such as improving cancer prevention and facilitating early diagnosis and treatment services. Likewise, in order to meet the rising demand for head and neck cancer therapies, pharmaceutical companies are actively establishing their presence in China by investing in manufacturing facilities, clinical trials, and research and development (R&D).

Subsequently, as research continues to progress, the global head & neck cancer therapeutics market as a whole is set to witness a prospective future, where better outcomes and increased survival rates become a reality for patients battling the chronic condition.

By Shruti Vanjare


What are the common risk factors for head and neck cancer?

Several risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing head and neck cancer. These include tobacco and alcohol use, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, prolonged sun exposure (for lip cancer), a diet lacking in fruits and vegetables, and a history of head and neck radiation treatment.

How is head and neck cancer diagnosed?

Diagnosing head and neck cancer typically involves a combination of physical examination, imaging tests, such as CT scans and MRIs, biopsy (tissue sampling), and sometimes endoscopy to examine the inside of the throat or nose.