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A Journal on Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery,
Plastic Reconstructive Surgery, Otoneurosurgery

Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, Scopus




Otorinolaringologia 2009 September;59(3);119-31

language: English

Biological markers in head and neck cancer

Loyo M. 1, Poeta M. L. 2,3, Califano J. A. 1

1 Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
2 Laboratory of Molecular Medicine and Biotechnology, CIR, Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome, Rome, Italy
3 Department of General and Environmental Physiology and Centre of Excellence in Comparative Genomics (CEGBA, University of Bari, Bari, Italy


As our understanding of the molecular biology of cancer continues to grow, tumor biomarkers have began to emerge as potential clinical tools. In the present review we will discuss prominent biomarkers in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC). Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the etiology agent in a subgroup of non-smoker, young patients carrying a favorable prognosis. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) overexpression is commonly present in HNSCC that can be now be targeted by new drugs. The well-known tumor suppressor gene p53 is known to be altered in a vast majority of human cancers. In HNSCC, prognosis is adversely affected by loss of p53. Other markers such as epigenetic alterations, mitochondrial dysfunction, and loss of heterozygosity are addressed in the text. This review emphasizes evidence based diagnostic, staging, monitoring, prognostic, and treatment implications of these biomarkers.

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