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Head Neck. 2005 Aug;27(8):710-7.

Molecular mediators of metastasis in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, University of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, The Eye and Ear Institute Building, Suite 500, 200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



The presence of regional metastasis in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is a common and adverse event associated with poor prognosis and high mortality. Although significant improvements in standard therapies have increased the efficacy of local tumor management, the high incidence of tumor recurrence has resulted in limited improvements in overall survival rates. Understanding the molecular mechanisms that mediate HNSCC invasion and metastasis may enable identification of novel therapeutic targets for the prevention and management of tumor dissemination.


A literature review was performed.


Several biologic mediators and mechanisms that have been implicated in HNSCC metastasis, such as cell adhesion molecules, proteolytic enzymes, growth factor signaling, metastasis suppressor genes, and chemokine receptors were reviewed.


Prevention of HNSCC metastasis is an important clinical objective that requires an increased understanding of the molecular mechanisms of tumor invasion and dissemination.

Copyright 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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