Head and Neck Cancer

The Head and Neck Clinical Research Team focuses on cancers that arise from the mucosal surfaces of the mouth, nose, and throat (also known as head and neck squamous cell carcinoma), as well as tumors arising from the salivary glands, thyroid, and paranasal sinuses. There are an estimated 55,000 new cases of head and neck cancer in the United States this year, including more than 1,200 new head and neck cancer patients in Arizona. Treatment for these cancers requires a team approach. At the UArizona Cancer Center, a multidisciplinary team of head and neck surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, and other health professionals meet for a weekly Head and Neck Tumor Board to develop a personalized treatment plan for all new head and neck cancer patients.

The head and neck cancer program at the UArizona Cancer Center was established in 2012 and has quickly become a center of excellence for patients throughout the state of Arizona and the Southwestern United States. The Tucson campus is the only center in Southern Arizona to provide comprehensive services for all aspects of the treatment of head and neck cancer, including surgical services in microvascular free flap reconstruction, trans-oral robotic surgery (TORS), and minimally invasive trans-nasal endoscopic anterior skull base surgery. Our radiology and radiation therapy doctors provide access to state-of-the art diagnostic imaging and therapeutic treatment technologies for the many types of complex head and neck cancers. Our medical oncologists offer the latest cutting-edge systemic anti-cancer agents and lead innovative clinical trials which, in many cases, are not available elsewhere.

Head and neck cancer may affect many of the essential functions by which we interact with the outside world, including voice, swallowing, taste, smell, vision, and hearing.  We have nurse navigators to guide patients through the often complex series of tests, procedures, and cancer treatments, and our team can provide supportive care with speech and swallow therapists, nutritionists, and physical therapists to give the best possible quality of life outcomes. Physicians and scientists at the UArizona Cancer Center conduct ground-breaking clinical research studies that have the potential to improve future treatment approaches and functional outcomes as well as enable better screening and prevention of head and neck cancers.

Featured Clinical Trials

A Phase 1, Open-Label, Multicenter Study to Assess the Safety, Tolerability, and Immunogenicity of mRNA-4157 Alone in Subjects with Resected Solid Tumors and in Combination with Pembrolizumab in Subjects with Unresectable Solid Tumors

A Phase 2, Multicenter, Open-label Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of CDX-3379 in Combination with Cetuximab in Patients with Advanced Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma


Surgical Oncology
Medical Oncology
Surgical Oncology
Medical Oncology
Surgical Oncology
Radiation Oncology
Surgical Oncology



Clinical Research Nursing

Sylvia Paton, BS, MSRN

Clinical Research Coordination

David Campas
Chad Erickson
Alysha F. Zeoli, BS

Regulatory Coordination

Rachel E. Jarrett, MPH