Author(s): Serefoglou Z, Yapijakis C, Nkenke E, Vairaktaris E
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Abstract Mutations in oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes, as well as environmental factors such as tobacco chewing or smoking, poor oral hygiene, ill-fitting dental appliances, infection by certain HPV types, or alcohol abuse, seem to be involved in the multifactorial process of carcinogenesis in head and neck. Recently, several genetic association studies have indicated that common DNA polymorphisms in low penetrance genes may affect the susceptibility of an individual to malignancy. Cytokines are an important group of proteins that regulate and mediate inflammation and angiogenesis. Tumor growth, invasion and metastasis are facilitated when there is a deregulation in their production. Cytokines include interleukins (ILs), tumor necrosis factors (TNFs) and certain growth factors (GFs). A number of genetic association studies have recently investigated the putative correlation between functional DNA polymorphisms in cytokine genes and head and neck carcinomas. This review discusses the findings of such studies in oral, nasopharyngeal and esophageal squamous cell carcinomas. Extensive research has indicated that functional polymorphisms affecting gene expression of IL-4,-6,-8,-10 as well as TNF-alpha are strongly associated with increased risk for oral cancer. Gene expression of TNF-alpha seems to be associated also with esophageal carcinomas, while for nasopharyngeal cancer the picture is yet unclear. It is generally believed that such genetic association studies will gradually increase our knowledge regarding the predisposed manifestation and advancement of these malignancies in the head and neck region.
This article was published in Oral Oncol
and referenced in Journal of Blood Disorders & Transfusion