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p16INK4 as a Biomarker in Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

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The oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas (OPSCC) are a molecular and clinically heterogeneous group of cancer, not yet fully characterized. The most important risk factors for OPSCC are tobacco and alcohol, however, in the last fifteen years, HPV-positive OPSCC are apparently growing, principally in young male people. It is highly probable that these cases represent a new and particular OPSCC subgroup. A reclassification of OPSCC based in part on the participation of high risk human papillomavirus (HPV) as an etiological factor is likely to be proposed. In addition to the association with HPV, other biomarkers have been added to better understand the OPSCC biological behavior and response to oncologic treatment, including TP53 genotypes or changes in chromosome stability. Of particular interest is the tumor suppressor p16INK4, as its expression levels can function as a surrogate biomarker in the diagnosis of HPV-positive OPSCC. p16INK4 overexpression in combination with the demonstration of HPV active infection, according to most authors may predict a good prognosis, thus p16INK4 has been proposed (and patented) as a therapeutic target in those cancers overexpressing it. This review discusses the recent patents focusing on the p16INK4 diagnostic and prognostic value as well as its possible therapeutic activity.
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Keywords: Biomarker; expression; head and neck cancer; oropharyngeal; p16; prognosis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2014

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  • Recent Patents on Biomarkers publishes review and research articles, and guest edited thematic issues on important recent patents on biomarkers. The coverage includes novel biomarkers in basic, medical, environmental, and pharmaceutical research. A selection of important and recent patents on biomarkers is also included in the journal. The journal is essential reading for all researchers involved in biomarker research and discovery. The journal also covers recent research (where patents have been registered) in fast emerging patent biomarker applications; discovery and validation are covered for drug discovery, clinical development and molecular diagnostics.
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