, Volume 57, Issue 1-3, pp 52-69
Date: 12 Nov 2013

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

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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.