Molecular-Targeted Chemotherapy for Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

  • Harrison W. Lin
  • James W. Rocco


The head and neck region hosts the intersection of several essential organ systems which provide the vital functions of respiration, swallowing, communication and airway protection. Therapeutic modalities designed to treat squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the head and neck, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy can therefore result in devastating physical and psychological­ consequences. Recent advances in our understanding of cancer biology have revealed many potential therapeutic targets and have started to provide clinicians with a selective means to treat patients with head and neck SCC, limiting treatment morbidity while maintaining patient survival. Despite this initial promise, only a few of these molecular-targeted chemotherapies are currently in established clinical use, with the majority under ongoing preclinical and clinical trial evaluation. Future molecular-targeted chemotherapy will compliment existing therapeutic strategies before ultimately reducing the morbidity of current treatment options while maintaining or improving survival. We review the current status of the preclinical and clinical work on these putative cancer-associated molecules and the proposed strategies to exploit them for targeted tumor cell death.


Human Papilloma Virus Human Papilloma Virus Infection Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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