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Front Pharmacol. 2012 Jul 30;3:149. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2012.00149. eCollection 2012.

Recurrent oral cancer: current and emerging therapeutic approaches.

Author information

1
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital, McGill University Montreal, QC, Canada ; Department of Medicine, Segal Cancer Centre and Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital, McGill University Montreal, QC, Canada ; Department of Oncology, Segal Cancer Centre and Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital, McGill University Montreal, QC, Canada.

Abstract

Oral cavity cancer (OCC) is associated with high incidence of loco-regional recurrences, which account for the majority of treatment failures post-surgery and radiotherapy. The time-course of relapse manifestation and metastasis are unpredictable. Relapsed OCC represents a major clinical challenge in part due to their aggressive and invasive behaviors. Chemotherapy remains the only option for advanced OCC whenever salvage surgery or re-irradiation is not feasible, but its efficacy is limited as a result of the drug resistance development. Alternatives to use of different permutations of standard cytotoxic drugs or combinations with modulators of drug resistance have led to incremental therapeutic benefits. The introduction of targeted agents and biologics against selective targets that drive cancer progression has opened-up optimism to achieve superior therapeutic activity and overcome drug resistance because, unlike the non-selective cytotoxic, the target can be monitored at molecular levels to identify patients who can benefit from the drug. This review discusses the multifactorial aspects of clinical drug resistance and emerging therapeutic approaches in recurrent OCC, emphasizing recent advances in targeted therapies, immunotherapy, and potential relevance of new concepts such as epithelial-mesenchymal transition and cancer stem cell hypothesis to drug resistance.

KEYWORDS:

drug resistance; novel therapeutics; oral cancer; recurrence

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