Immunologic Research

, Volume 57, Issue 1, pp 52–69

The immune system and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma: from carcinogenesis to new therapeutic opportunities

Immunology & Microbiology in Miami

DOI: 10.1007/s12026-013-8462-3

Cite this article as:
Freiser, M.E., Serafini, P. & Weed, D.T. Immunol Res (2013) 57: 52. doi:10.1007/s12026-013-8462-3


Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) exhibit complex interactions with the host immune system that may simultaneously explain resistance to various therapeutic modalities and that may also provide opportunities for therapeutic intervention. Discoveries in immunologic research over the last decade have led to an increased understanding of these interactions as well as the development of a multitude of investigational immunotherapies. Here, we describe the interaction between HNSCC and the immune system, including a discussion of immune cells involved with tumor carcinogenesis and the role of immune-modulating factors derived from tumors. We also describe the current immunotherapeutic approaches being investigated for HNSCC, including a discussion of the successes and limitations. With this review, we hope to present HNSCC as a model to guide future research in cancer immunology.


Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma Immunosuppression Immunotherapy Tumor vaccines Antibody therapies Human papilloma virus 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyUniversity of Miami Miller School of MedicineMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Division of Head and Neck Surgery, Department of OtolaryngologyUniversity of Miami Miller School of MedicineMiamiUSA
  3. 3.University of Miami Miller School of MedicineMiamiUSA

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