A perspective on chemoprevention by resveratrol in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2015;815:333-48. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-09614-8_19.


Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) accounts for around 6% of all cancers in the USA. Few of the greatest obstacles in HNSCC include development of secondary primary tumor, resistance and toxicity associated with the conventional treatments, together decreasing the overall 5-year survival rate in HNSCC patients to ≤50%. Radiation and chemotherapy are the conventional treatment options available for HNSCC patients at both early and late stage of this cancer type malignancy. Unfortunately, patients response poorly to these therapies leading to relapsed cases, which further, emphasizes the need of additional strategies for the prevention/intervention of both primary and the secondary primary tumors post-HNSCC therapy. In recent years, growing interest has focused on the use of natural products or their analogs to reduce the incidence and mortality of cancer, leading to encouraging results. Resveratrol, a component from grape skin, is one of the well-studied agents with a potential role in cancer chemoprevention and other health benefits. As an anticancer agent, resveratrol suppresses metabolic activation of pro-carcinogens to carcinogens by modulating the metabolic enzymes responsible for their activation, and induces phase II enzymes, thus, further detoxifying the effect of pro-carcinogens. Resveratrol also inhibits cell growth and induces cell death in cancer cells by targeting cell survival and cell death regulatory pathways. Growing evidence also suggest that resveratrol directly binds to DNA and RNA, activates antioxidant enzymes, prevents inflammation, and stimulates DNA damage checkpoint kinases affecting genomic integrity more specifically in malignant cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / prevention & control*
  • Chemoprevention
  • Ethanol / metabolism
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / genetics
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Resveratrol
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology*
  • Stilbenes / therapeutic use


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Stilbenes
  • Ethanol
  • Resveratrol