IntroductionAlthough most head and neck cancers are histologically squamous cell carcinomas, they are biologically heterogeneous despite their similar microscopic appearance. Hypopharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (HPSCC) is the most aggressive neoplasm at these anatomical sites, with a 5‐year overall survival rate of between 20% and 40%. Although a multidisciplinary approach is widely used in the clinical management of HPSCCs, high rates of regional recurrence and distant metastasis are factors that significantly affect patient survival. A subset (~60%) of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas (OPSCCs) are caused by infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) and are less aggressive than non‐HPV‐related cases. In contrast, the association with HPV infection is far less common in HPSCCs, and its clinical significance at this site is unclear. Greater understanding of the molecular features of HPSCCs and OPSCCs may be useful for improving treatment efficacy and developing novel therapeutic schemes. The combined use of biomarkers and a traditional TNM classification may also be effective for the stratification of patients in terms of the risk of metastasis and prognoses.Recent studies have demonstrated that a small subset of tumour cells known as cancer stem cells, which show similar characteristics to normal stem cells (e.g. self‐renewal capacity and pluripotency), may be
Histopathology – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ;
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