Recent results of the Cancer Genome Atlas on head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) revealed that HNSCC lacked predominant gain-of-function mutations in oncogenes, whereas an essential role for epigenetics in oncogenesis has become apparent. In parallel, it has gained general acceptance that cancer is considered as complex adaptive system, which evolves responding environmental selective pressures. This somatic evolution appears to proceed concurrently with the acquisition of an atavistic pluripotent state (i.e., "stemness"), which is inducible by intrinsic epigenetic reprogramming program as demonstrated by induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. This Nobel prize-winning discovery has markedly accelerated and expanded cancer stem cell research from the point of epigenetic reprogramming. Taken together, we hypothesize that stress-triggered atavistic reprogramming (STAR) may be the major driving force of HNSCC evolution. In this perspective, we discuss the possible mechanisms of STAR in HNSCC, focusing on recent topics of epigenetic reprogramming in developmental and cancer cell biology.
|Number of pages||18|
|Journal||American Journal of Cancer Research|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 1 2016|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research