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Exp Ther Med. 2012 Apr;3(4):585-591. Epub 2012 Feb 3.

Therapeutic strategies for head and neck cancer based on p53 status.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Nara Medical University, Kashihara, Nara 634-8522;


Squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck (HNSCC) are one of the most common types of cancers worldwide, and despite advances in treatment, they still represent a clinical challenge. Inactivation of one or more components in the p53 signaling pathway is an extremely common event in human neoplasia, including HNSCC. The loss of p53 function is responsible for increased aggressiveness in cancers, while tumor chemoresistance and radioresistance can depend on deleted p53 expression, or on the expression of mutated-p53 proteins. Thus, consideration and manipulation of the p53 status during HNSCC cancer therapy should be considered. This review discusses the p53 signaling pathways activated by various cellular stresses, including exposure to cancer therapies. The recognition of the p53 status in cancer cells is a significant factor and could provide valuable assistance during the selection of an effective therapeutic approach.

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