Gene expression profiling in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma: Clinical perspectives

Head Neck. 2010 Dec;32(12):1712-9. doi: 10.1002/hed.21491.


Background: To date, more than 60 gene expression profiling (GEP) studies have been published in the field of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) with variable objectives, methods, and results.

Methods: The purpose of this study was to present a state-of-the-art review of GEP in HNSCC focusing on the current advances and perspectives for clinical applications.

Results: Gene expression signatures have been developed to identify screening and diagnostic molecular markers, to improve tumor staging (cervical lymph node and distant metastasis prediction), to differentiate lung metastasis of HNSCC from primary lung squamous cell carcinoma, to predict tumor response to chemoradiotherapy, and to provide outcome predictors.

Conclusion: Some transcriptional signatures that could improve HNSCC management have been identified, but further analyses are required to properly validate and to precisely evaluate their clinical relevance. After an exploratory phase, the completion of large scale projects with stringent methodology is now necessary to transfer GEP from bench to bedside.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / secondary
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Genetic Markers
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Prognosis


  • Genetic Markers