Efforts are underway to identify the mutations in tumor cells that may give rise to cancer. Analysis of mutations in tumors from patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) identified some familiar players (TP53, CDKN2A, PTEN, PIK3CA, HRAS ) along with some new faces (NOTCH, IRF6, TP63, CASP8, EZH2).
HNSCC is the 6th most common non-skin cancer. Risk factors that contribute to the development of HNSCC include tobacco, alcohol, and human papilloma virus infection. By comparing the sequence of genes (via a process called exon sequencing) in the tumors of patients with HNSCC with the sequence in normal, non-cancerous cells in their blood, Nicolas Stransky and colleagues have identified new mutations that were not previously known to be altered in HNSCC. These findings, published in Science Express on July 28, 2011 (DOI 10.1126/science.1208130) www.sciencemag.org, offer new insight into the regulation of HNSCC. Further, this data offers potential new targets to attack to prevent continued tumor growth.
n3 science communications