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Micro-ribonucleic acids in head and neck cancer: an introduction

  • I Gunawardena (a1), J Fitzgerald (a1), A Morley (a1), D J Hussey (a2), C M Woods (a1) and A S Carney (a1)...


Background and methods:

Head and neck cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide. Advances in management have not greatly altered overall survival. Over the last decade, there have been significant scientific advances in our knowledge of cell cycle regulation and the complex oncogenic processes. MicroRNAs are small, non-coding RNAs which are integral to the regulation of gene expression and which play a part in carcinogenesis. The literature on the role of microRNA in head and neck cancer is reviewed.


To introduce the role and significance of microRNAs in head and neck cancer.


The possibilities of incorporating microRNAs into clinical practice are discussed, including their potential role in diagnosis, prognosis, prediction of metastatic spread, therapy and tumour surveillance.


Discoveries in expression profiling of microRNA in head and neck oncology promise advancements in the diagnosis, prognosis and therapy of these cancers.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr I Gunawardena, Flinders ENT, Department of Surgery, Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University, Bedford Park, SA, Australia 5042 Fax: (+618) 82199908 E-mail:


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