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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2014 Dec;1333:1-32. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12613.

Head and neck cancer: from research to therapy and cure.

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Department of Biochemistry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts.


Cumulative findings from many research groups have identified new signaling mechanisms associated with head and neck cancers. We summarize these findings, including discussion of aberrant NOTCH, PI3K, STAT3, immune recognition, oxidative pathway, and regulation of cell cycle and cell death. The genomic landscape of head and neck cancers has been shown to differ depending on human papillomavirus (HPV) status. We discuss studies examining the integration of HPV into genomic regions, as well as the epigenetic alterations that occur in response to HPV infection, and how these may help reveal new biomarker and treatment predictors. The characterization of premalignant lesions is also highlighted, as is evidence indicating that the surgical removal of these lesions is associated with better clinical outcomes. Current surgical methods are also discussed, including several less aggressive approaches such as minimal invasive robotic surgery. While much remains to be done in the fight against head and neck cancer, continued integration of basic research with new treatment options will likely lead to more effective therapeutic strategies directed against this disease.


HPV; NOTCH; PI3K; STAT; genomics; head and neck cancer; pathway networks; precision medicine; robotic surgery

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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