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Stem Cells International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 319489, 13 pages
Review Article

Cancer Stem Cell Markers in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

1School of Dentistry, The University of Queensland, 200 Turbot Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000, Australia
2The University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research, Herston, QLD 4029, Australia

Received 28 November 2012; Accepted 23 January 2013

Academic Editor: Rihab Nasr

Copyright © 2013 Aidan G. Major et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is one of the world’s top ten most common cancers. Current survival rates are poor with only 50% of patients expected to survive five years after diagnosis. The poor survival rate of HNSCC is partly attributable to the tendency for diagnosis at the late stage of the disease. One of the reasons for treatment failure is thought to be related to the presence of a subpopulation of cells within the tumour called cancer stem cells (CSCs). CSCs display stem cell-like characteristics that impart resistance to conventional treatment modalities and promote tumour initiation, progression, and metastasis. Specific markers for this population have been investigated in the hope of developing a deeper understanding of their role in the pathogenesis of HNSCC and elucidating novel therapeutic strategies.