PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Overall survival of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma patients on the whole has not dramatically improved in the last 30 years. One of the reasons is that tumour, node, metastasis classification is probably in some cases inadequate, since similar cases under a clinico-pathological point of view, may differ widely in prognosis. The most important reason for this is probably the extreme biological heterogeneity, which leads to a lack of consistency in treatment planning. The aim of the present review is to delineate the advances and the perspectives of clinical use of molecular characterization, which is an attempt to break through such molecular heterogeneity and to define, together with tumour, node, metastasis classification, homogeneous groups of patients for prognostic stratification and treatment selection. RECENT FINDINGS: Among the markers evaluated in the last years, some have revealed particular promise. Epidermal growth factor receptor is probably the most reliable molecular marker at present, retaining its prognostic value independently from primary treatment. The p53 gene, the p53 protein being the main effector of DNA damage induced apoptosis, is probably the best predictor of radio/chemosensitivity. SUMMARY: Even if clinical tumour, node, metastasis classification will probably retain its significance, it is now becoming possible, by molecular markers, to acquire biological information about host and tumour, to break through the above-cited molecular heterogeneity and eventually to optimize the choice of treatment. © 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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|Titolo:||Should there be more molecular staging of head and neck cancer to improve the choice of treatments and thereby improve survival?|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2008|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|