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Curr Top Med Chem. 2018;18(3):214-218. doi: 10.2174/1568026618666180116121624.

Searching for New Targets and Treatments in the Battle Against Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck, with Specific Focus on Tumours of the Tongue.

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Department of Medical Biosciences, Umea University, Umea, Sweden.
Department of Medical, Surgical and Dental Specialties, Second University of Naples, Multidisciplinary Naples, Italy.
Department of Neuroscience Reproductive and Dentistry Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy.
RECAMO, Masaryk Memorial Cancer Institute, Zluty kopec 7, 656 53 Brno, Czech Republic.
University Paris Diderot, INSERM UMRS1162, 27 rue Juliette Dodu, Paris, 75010, France.
Department of Clinical Sciences/ENT, Umea University, Umea, Sweden.
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Foggia, 71122 Foggia, Italy.
Dipartimento Universitario di Anatomia Patologica, Seconda Universita' Degli Studi di Napoli, Piazza Miraglia, Naples, Italy.
Department of Odontology, Umea University, Umea, Sweden.


Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, SCCHN, is a heterogeneous group of tumours not only concerning the site of origin but also regarding aetiology. The 5-year survival for the whole group of SCCHN tumours has not significantly improved over the last 20-25 years. Apart from tumour spread to lymph nodes, N status, gains and losses of specific chromosomes are the only factors shown to be independent prognostic markers for these tumours. Worldwide, an increasing number of people ≤ 40 years are seen being affected by tongue SCC, the most common tumour within the SCCHN group. Even without any clinical signs of metastasis, up to 30% of all tongue SCC have histologically detectable spread to lymph nodes. In this mini review, field cancerization, tumour microenvironment, the so called EMT (epithelial mesenchymal transition) process and the role of viruses in development of SCCHN are discussed as well as potential new therapeutic targets. For the group of tongue SCC, with the increasing incidence seen in young patients and particularly women, new data with impact on prognosis and treatment are urgently needed. But as long as data from the analyses of several sub sites are presented as valid for the whole group of tumours, this vital point is missed.


EBV; HPV; Prognosis; Squamous cell carcinoma; Therapy; Tongue; miRNA; p63.

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