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Oncogene. 2000 May 15;19(21):2489-95.

STAT signaling in head and neck cancer.

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Department of Otolaryngology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, PA 15213, USA.


The upper aerodigestive tract is predisposed to the formation of multiple primary tumors due to field cancerization. TGF-alpha/EGFR autocrine signaling appears to play an important role in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) and upregulation of TGF-alpha and EGFR is an early event in SCCHN carcinogenesis. STAT proteins, including Stat3, are activated by TGF-alpha and EGFR and strategies that downmodulate TGF-alpha or EGFR inhibit SCCHN cell proliferation and abrogate Stat3 activation. Targeting Stat3 leads to SCCHN growth inhibition, increases apoptosis and a downmodulation of Bcl-xL expression in head and neck tumors. These studies support the role of Stat3 as an oncogene, which is activated early in SCCHN carcinogenesis, and efforts to understand EGFR-mediated Stat3 signaling could facilitate novel strategies that will interfere with this growth promoting pathway. Oncogene (2000).

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