Objectives/hypothesis: The objective was to introduce microarray technology and its applications in cancer research to the head and neck clinician.
Study design: Literature review combined with methodology and examples from the authors' experiences with microarray analysis of tumors of the head and neck.
Methods: Search of literature and the authors' experience was made for technical details, alternative methods of data analysis, available bioinformatics tools, and applications of microarrays in cancer research.
Results: Microarrays allow the simultaneous analysis of the expression of thousands of genes. The use of a well-developed microarray study design leads to informative results. There are various bioinformatics resources widely available to aid in the analysis of microarray data. However, there is not yet a gold standard for analysis because this methodology is still evolving.
Conclusion: Microarray studies may allow researchers to identify genetic changes relevant to diagnosis and prognosis in patients with head and neck cancer. Although still relatively new, this powerful methodology has immense potential to aid in understanding of the genetic changes that are important in head and neck cancer.