Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma: New translational therapies

Anthony Prince, Julio Aguirre-Ghizo, Eric Genden, Marshall Posner, Andrew Sikora

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma includes cancers of the mouth, throat, larynx, and lymph nodes of the neck. Although early disease is amenable to single-modality treatment with surgery or radiation, patients with advanced disease have a dramatically worse prognosis, despite potentially morbid/toxic treatment regimens involving surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or all 3 modalities. The present review seeks to provide an overview of current understanding and treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma for the nonspecialist clinician or basic/translational researcher, followed by an overview of major translational approaches to the treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Translational research topics addressed include targeted molecular therapy, immunotherapy, minimally invasive robotic surgery, and ablation of dormant/residual tumor cells. Despite the many potentially promising avenues of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma research, only 2 new treatment approaches (antiepidermal growth factor receptor therapy and robotic surgery) have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in the past 30 years. Focused research programs involving integrated teams of clinicians, basic scientists, and translational clinician-researchers have the potential to accelerate discovery and change treatment paradigms for patients with head and neck cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-699
Number of pages16
JournalMount Sinai Journal of Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • head and neck cancer
  • immunotherapy
  • minimally invasive surgery
  • squamous cell carcinoma
  • targeted therapy
  • translational research
  • transoral robotic surgery


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