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Am J Cancer Res. 2011 Jan 1;1(3):275-300.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma - Similarities and Differences among Anatomical Sites.

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  • 1Pathogenetics Unit, Laboratory of Pathology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is an epithelial malignancy involving many anatomical sites and is the most common cancer capable of metastatic spread. Development of early diagnosis methods and novel therapeutics are important for prevention and mortality reduction. In this effort, numerous molecular alterations have been described in SCCs. SCCs share many phenotypic and molecular characteristics, but they have not been extensively compared. This article reviews SCC as a disease, including: epidemiology, pathology, risk factors, molecular characteristics, prognostic markers, targeted therapy, and a new approach to studying SCCs. Through this comparison, several themes are apparent. For example, HPV infection is a common risk factor among the four major SCCs (NMSC, HNSC, ESCC, and NSCLC) and molecular abnormalities in cell-cycle regulation and signal transduction predominate. These data reveal that the molecular insights, new markers, and drug targets discovered in individual SCCs may shed light on this type of cancer as a whole.

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