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Nasopharyngeal carcinoma—Review of the molecular mechanisms of tumorigenesis

Authors

  • Josephine Chou MS,

    1. Thoracic Oncology Laboratory, Department of Surgery, Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, California 94115
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  • Yu-Ching Lin MD,

    1. Thoracic Oncology Laboratory, Department of Surgery, Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, California 94115
    2. Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chiayi, Taiwan
    3. Graduate Institute of Clinical Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan
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  • Jae Kim MD,

    1. Thoracic Oncology Laboratory, Department of Surgery, Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, California 94115
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  • Liang You MD, PhD,

    1. Thoracic Oncology Laboratory, Department of Surgery, Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, California 94115
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  • Zhidong Xu PhD,

    1. Thoracic Oncology Laboratory, Department of Surgery, Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, California 94115
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  • Biao He PhD,

    1. Thoracic Oncology Laboratory, Department of Surgery, Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, California 94115
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  • David M. Jablons MD

    Corresponding author
    1. Thoracic Oncology Laboratory, Department of Surgery, Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, California 94115
    • Thoracic Oncology Laboratory, Department of Surgery, Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, California 94115
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Abstract

Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a head and neck cancer rare throughout most of the world but common in certain geographic areas, such as southern Asia. While environmental factors and genetic susceptibility play important roles in NPC pathogenesis, the Epstein–Barr virus in particular has been implicated in the molecular abnormalities leading to NPC. There is upregulation of cellular proliferation pathways such as the Akt pathway, mitogen-activated protein kinases, and the Wnt pathway. Cell adhesion is compromised due to abnormal E-cadherin and β-catenin function. Aberrations in cell cycle are due to dysregulation of factors such as p16, cyclin D1, and cyclin E. Anti-apoptotic mechanisms are also upregulated. There are multiple abnormalities unique to NPC that are potential targets for novel treatments. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2008

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