Cancer stem cells in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

J Oncol. 2011;2011:762780. doi: 10.1155/2011/762780. Epub 2010 Nov 8.


Accumulating evidence suggests that self-renewal and differentiation capabilities reside only in a subpopulation of tumor cells, termed cancer stem cells (CSCs), whereas the remaining tumor cell population lacks the ability to initiate tumor development or support continued tumor growth. In head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), as with other malignancies, cancer stem cells have been increasingly shown to have an integral role in tumor initiation, disease progression, metastasis and treatment resistance. In this paper we summarize the current knowledge of the role of CSCs in HNSCC and discuss the therapeutic implications and future directions of this field.