Epigenetic markers in head and neck cancer: special view on HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer
Nina Milutin Gašperov, Ivan Sabol , Vjekoslav Tomaić, Magdalena Grce
Despite continuous efforts to identify molecular markers for the early detection of head and neck cancer (HNC), and improved therapy, the overall survival and prognosis of HNC patients still remain poor. Scientific evidences suggest that HPV-associated HNC had better prognosis and survival. Furthermore, epigenetic alterations are generally frequently involved in carcinogenesis, tumor progression and resistance to therapy. Thus, understanding and characterization of epigenetic modifications associated with head and neck carcinogenesis promise the identification of epigenetic markers for the early detection of cancer and improvement of therapeutic approaches to fight cancer. In this review, the focus is on the current knowledge on epigenetic modifications regarding DNA methylation and microRNAs observed in HNC, particularly in HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer.