Therapeutic exploitation of the physiological and molecular genetic alterations in head and neck cancer.
Le Q-T., Giaccia AJ.
Despite improvements in the diagnosis and management of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas, there has been minimal increase in the long-term survival in these patients over the last 30 years. Treatment intensification with concurrent chemoradiotherapy has been shown to increase survival and improve organ preservation over radiotherapy alone in patients with locally advanced tumor; however, at a cost of increased long-term toxicity. Recent advances in molecular technology have ushered in a new age of targeted therapy, which holds promise for a better outcome for these patients with potentially less normal tissue toxicity. Some of the new approaches aim to specifically inhibit tumor growth and metastasis by targeting the tumor microenvironment or vasculature, whereas others focus on specific protein or signal transduction pathways. This review will summarize these new molecular and physiological based strategies that can be used for both treatment and chemoprevention of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.