01.05.2012Head and neck cancer is the term used to describe malignant tumours originating in the upper aerodigestive tract (UADT), including the oral cavity, larynx, pharynx and nasopharynx. The vast majority (90%) of Head and Neck cancers are Squamous Cell Carcinomas (HNSCC) arising from the epithelial membranes (mucus linings) of these regions1, and as such they have many common features relating to their aetiology and classification.
Each year approximately 560,000 cases of head and neck cancer are diagnosed worldwide, and 300,000 patients die annually.2 Incidence rates are more than twice as high in men than in women.3
Recently, targeted therapies in combination with radiotherapy,4 have shown promise in improving the currently available treatment options in the locally advanced setting. In advanced (metastatic) or recurrent head and neck cancers, a recent study showed that targeted therapy in combination with chemotherapy is more effective than chemotherapy alone.
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