Targeted therapy in head and neck cancer

ENT Department, University Hospital of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.
Tumori (Impact Factor: 1.27). 03/2011; 97(2):137-41. DOI: 10.1700/667.7773
Source: PubMed


This review focuses on recent advances in understanding the molecular mechanisms at the basis of cancer initiation and progression in the head and neck and also discusses the possible development of targeted cellular strategies. Intrinsic and acquired resistance of cancer cells to current conventional treatments, as well as recurrence, represent a major challenge in treating and curing the most aggressive and metastatic tumors also in the head and neck. Even though in some hematologic malignancies (i.e., non-Hodgkin's lymphomas) antibodies specifically designed to target tumor-specific cells have already been introduced, in solid tumors molecular targeted therapy is now entering clinical practice.
A PubMed database systematic review.
Molecular targeting could achieve specific damage to cancer cells, at the same time preserving functionally important tissues. This could offer new prospectives in primary and adjuvant treatment also of head and neck tumors.

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    • "Principle The concept of 'Field cancerization', coined by Slaughter in 1953, proposes that the normal tissue adjacent to the tumor harbor certain pre-neoplastic genetic finger prints which can eventually lead to development of local recurrence or second primary tumors. Slaughter and his group based this concept on the following observations: (i) tumor adjacent mucosa being molecularly 'abnormal' (ii) multifocal areas of precancerous changes develop due to a prolonged and widespread exposure to carcinogens (iii) oral cancer often consists of multiple independent lesions that sometimes coalesce and (iv) formation of second primary tumors and recurrences can be explained by the presence of residual abnormal tissue after surgery [15] [16]. "
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