Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck in nonsmokers: clinical and biologic characteristics and implications for management

Curr Opin Oncol. 2001 May;13(3):176-82. doi: 10.1097/00001622-200105000-00008.


Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck has been strongly linked to chronic tobacco and alcohol abuse. However, we are increasingly recognizing subgroups of patients without traditional risk factors. Recent clinical and molecular investigations suggest that there are distinctive clinical entities, particularly affecting young patients with cancers of the oral tongue and oropharynx. We review data from clinical observations and current biologic inquiries and consider therapeutic implications for these important patient subgroups.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / etiology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / etiology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects