Molecular biology and immunology of head and neck cancer

Surg Oncol Clin N Am. 2015 Jul;24(3):397-407. doi: 10.1016/j.soc.2015.03.002. Epub 2015 Apr 20.


In recent years, our knowledge and understanding of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) has expanded dramatically. New high-throughput sequencing technologies have accelerated these discoveries since the first reports of whole-exome sequencing of HNSCC tumors in 2011. In addition, the discovery of human papillomavirus in relationship with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma has shifted our molecular understanding of the disease. New investigation into the role of immune evasion in HNSCC has also led to potential novel therapies based on immune-specific systemic therapies.

Trial registration: NCT01697800 NCT02252042 NCT02255097.

Keywords: Head and neck cancer; Immunology; Molecular biology; Targeted therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy
  • Humans
  • Molecular Biology*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Papillomaviridae / pathogenicity*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications
  • Papillomavirus Infections / immunology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors

Associated data