The immune system and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma: From carcinogenesis to new therapeutic opportunities

Monika E. Freiser, Paolo Serafini, Donald T. Weed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) exhibit complex interactions with the host immune system that may simultaneously explain resistance to various therapeutic modalities and that may also provide opportunities for therapeutic intervention. Discoveries in immunologic research over the last decade have led to an increased understanding of these interactions as well as the development of a multitude of investigational immunotherapies. Here, we describe the interaction between HNSCC and the immune system, including a discussion of immune cells involved with tumor carcinogenesis and the role of immune-modulating factors derived from tumors. We also describe the current immunotherapeutic approaches being investigated for HNSCC, including a discussion of the successes and limitations. With this review, we hope to present HNSCC as a model to guide future research in cancer immunology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-69
Number of pages18
JournalImmunologic Research
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013



  • Antibody therapies
  • Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
  • Human papilloma virus
  • Immunosuppression
  • Immunotherapy
  • Tumor vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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