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Squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck (HNSCCs) that arise in the mucosal linings of the upper respiratory and digestive tracts are the sixth leading cancer by incidence worldwide, with 600,000 new cases each year (1). The most important risk factors for these cancers are tobacco use and alcohol consumption, while a subgroup is caused by infection with human papillomaviruses that also cause cervical cancer (2). Patients with early-stage disease are treated by either surgery or radiotherapy, whereas patients in advanced stages receive a combination of these modalities or concurrent chemotherapy and localized radiation. Only 40 to 50% of patients will survive for 5 years after treatment (2). Antibodies directed against the epidermal growth factor receptor have been the only recent new therapy for this life-threatening disease (3). Two papers in this issue—by Agrawal et al. (4) on page 1154 and Stransky et al. (5) on page 1157—provide new insight into the genetic changes causing HNSCC that may guide the development of alternative treatment strategies.
Department of Otolaryngology/Head-Neck Surgery, VU University Medical Center, 1007 MB Amsterdam, Netherlands.
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In Science Magazine
Nishant Agrawal, Mitchell J. Frederick, Curtis R. Pickering, Chetan Bettegowda, Kyle Chang, Ryan J. Li, Carole Fakhry, Tong-Xin Xie, Jiexin Zhang, Jing Wang, Nianxiang Zhang, Adel K. El-Naggar, Samar A. Jasser, John N. Weinstein, Lisa Treviño, Jennifer A. Drummond, Donna M. Muzny, Yuanqing Wu, Laura D. Wood, Ralph H. Hruban, William H. Westra, Wayne M. Koch, Joseph A. Califano, Richard A. Gibbs, David Sidransky, Bert Vogelstein, Victor E. Velculescu, Nickolas Papadopoulos, David A. Wheeler, Kenneth W. Kinzler, and Jeffrey N. Myers (26 August 2011) Science333 (6046), 1154.
[DOI: 10.1126/science.1206923] |Abstract »|Full Text »|PDF »|Supporting Online Material »
Nicolas Stransky, Ann Marie Egloff, Aaron D. Tward, Aleksandar D. Kostic, Kristian Cibulskis, Andrey Sivachenko, Gregory V. Kryukov, Michael S. Lawrence, Carrie Sougnez, Aaron McKenna, Erica Shefler, Alex H. Ramos, Petar Stojanov, Scott L. Carter, Douglas Voet, Maria L. Cortés, Daniel Auclair, Michael F. Berger, Gordon Saksena, Candace Guiducci, Robert C. Onofrio, Melissa Parkin, Marjorie Romkes, Joel L. Weissfeld, Raja R. Seethala, Lin Wang, Claudia Rangel-Escareño, Juan Carlos Fernandez-Lopez, Alfredo Hidalgo-Miranda, Jorge Melendez-Zajgla, Wendy Winckler, Kristin Ardlie, Stacey B. Gabriel, Matthew Meyerson, Eric S. Lander, Gad Getz, Todd R. Golub, Levi A. Garraway, and Jennifer R. Grandis (26 August 2011) Science333 (6046), 1157.
[DOI: 10.1126/science.1208130] |Abstract »|Full Text »|PDF »|Supporting Online Material »
In Science Signaling
Paula A. Kiberstis (30 August 2011) Sci. Signal.4 (188), ec241.
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.4188ec241] |Abstract »
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Harnessing Massively Parallel Sequencing in Personalized Head and Neck Oncology.