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Head and neck cancer 

Head and neck cancer
Head and neck cancer

Christine H. Chung

, Andreas Dietz

, Vincent Gregoire

, Marco Guzzo

, Marc Hamoir

, René Leemans

, Jean-Louis Lefebvre

, Lisa Licitra

, Adel K. El-Naggar

, Brian O’Sullivan

, Bing Tan

, Vincent Vandecaveye

, Vincent Vander Poorten

, Jan Vermorken

, and Michelle D. Williams

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date: 14 July 2020

This chapter discusses head and neck cancers, and covers the epidemiology and molecular biology of head and neck cancer. Head and neck cancer is a heterogeneous disease and most commonly caused by tobacco and alcohol use, as well as high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV-negative and -positive HNSCC are demographically, biologically and clinically distinct entities with more favourable outcomes associated with HPV-positive tumours of the oropharynx. Comprehensive genomic analyses show that more functional loss of tumour suppressors are present in HPV-negative tumours compared to HPV-positive tumours. Furthermore, HNSCC can be molecularly characterized into five subtypes. The challenges facing future investigations are efficient translation of these biological findings into clinically meaningful advancements in patient treatment.

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