Head and Neck Cancer

Researcher looking through microscope

The best treatment for head and neck cancers is guided by a team of specialists. At the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center, our Radiation Oncologists work with an expert cancer team that includes surgeons, medical oncologists, physical and speech therapists, and other experts who provide compassionate, coordinated care.

Our multidisciplinary head and neck cancer team is nationally recognized for outstanding treatment outcomes. For example, 64 percent of our patients with stage IV head and neck cancer survive five years after treatment, compared to the national average of 42 percent. But, just as important, our team is recognized by patients and their families for our extraordinary dedication to helping patients maintain the best possible quality of life, including speech and swallowing functions, during and after treatment.


A combined treatment approach of chemotherapy and radiation therapy saved chef Grant Achatz's tongue from surgery. »Learn more

Clinical Trials 

Dr. Haraf is an internationally recognized radiation oncology expert in the treatment of head and neck cancer. Dr. Haraf is a Co-investigator and the Radiation Oncology Chair of several innovative clinical trials, including the DECIDE trial: (A Phase III Randomized Trial of Docetaxel Based Induction Chemotherapy in Patients with N2/N3 Locally Advanced Head and Neck Cancer); the EPIC trial: (A Randomized Phase II Trial of Concurrent Chemoradiation with Cetuximab (ERBITUX®), 5‑Fluorouracil, Hydroxyurea, and Twice-daily Radiation (CetuxFHX) versus Cextuximab (ERBITUX®), weekly Cisplatin, and Accelerated Radiation with Concomitant Boost (CetuxPX) after Cetuximab,  Paclitaxel, Carboplatin Induction Chemotherapy in Patients with Locally Advanced Head and Neck Cancer); the Abraxane trial for recurrent head and neck cancer: Nab-Paclitaxel-based re-induction chemotherapy followed by response-stratified chemoradiotherapy in patients with previously treated squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck; and the Everlimus trial: Selection of Chemoradiotherapy Based on Response to Induction Chemotherapy – a randomized Phase 2 Study in Locally Advanced Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck.  This trial combines a novel agent Everlimus (an MTOR inhibitor) in or standard FHX regimen with BID radiation.  The protocol has a novel aspect for radiation as well.  Those patients who respond to induction get a much reduced field of XRT in an attempt to decrease toxicity. Finally, Dr. Haraf is developing a new protocol for HPV positive head and neck cancer. See our Head and Neck Cancer Clinical Trials database for more information.

Daniel J. Haraf, MD

Professor of Radiation and Cellular Oncology