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NCI Cancer Center News

UNC-led study documents head and neck cancer molecular tumor subtypes

  • Posted: February 25, 2013

Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the seventh most common form of cancer in the United States, but other than an association with the human papillomavirus, no validated molecular profile of the disease has been established. By analyzing data from DNA microarrays, a UNC-led team has completed a study that confirms the presence of four molecular classes of the disease and extends previous results by suggesting that there may be an underlying connection between the molecular classes and observed genomic events, some of which affect known cancer genes. UNC is home to the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Other institutions participating in the study were: Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; the University of Toledo; and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.

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Among the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 67 as Cancer Centers. Largely based in research universities, these facilities are home to many of the NCI-supported scientists who conduct a wide range of intense, laboratory research into cancer’s origins and development. The Cancer Centers Program also focuses on trans-disciplinary research, including population science and clinical research. The centers’ research results are often at the forefront of studies in the cancer field.