Enhanced Radiation Sensitivity of Human Papillomavirus-Driven Head and Neck Cancer: Focus on Immunological Aspects

Mine Özcan-Wahlbrink, Christoph Schifflers, Angelika B. Riemer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC), emerging in the mucosa of the upper aerodigestive tract, are associated with either the classical risk factors, tobacco and alcohol consumption, or with infections with high-risk types of the human papillomavirus (HPV). Depending on the involvement of HPV, HNSCC follow different pathways of carcinogenesis and show distinct clinical presentations regarding survival, prognosis and treatment response. For instance, HPV-driven HNSCC exhibit an enhanced radiation response compared to their typically radioresistant HPV-negative counterparts. Although radiosensitivity of HNSCC has been studied by many research groups, the major causes for the difference in radiation responses between HPV-driven and HPV-negative HNSCC are still an open question. In this mini review, we discuss the reported cellular and immunological factors involved in the enhanced radiation response in HPV-driven HNSCC, focusing on the vital role of the immune response in the outcome of HNSCC radiotherapy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2831
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC)
  • HPV-driven HNSCC
  • oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC)
  • radiation sensitivity
  • Immune response
  • human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • immune response
  • head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC)

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