Head and neck cancer is one of the leading malignancies worldwide. Due to the lack of symptoms in
the early stage of the disease, about two thirds of patients present with locally advanced disease at the time of
diagnosis. Even with significantly improved survival rates over the past two decades due to advanced imaging
and treatment modalities, locoregional recurrence rates in patients with advanced disease ranges from 16% to
35%. Alternative therapeutic targets are being developed to improve survival outcomes. MicroRNAs (miRNA or
miRs) are a family of small non-coding RNA species that have been demonstrated to regulate all cellular, physiological
and developmental processes. Recently, there has been an exponential increase in the number of studies
suggesting that miRNA is involved in regulating tumor metastasis, chemoresistance, radioresistance and survival
outcomes. MiRNA candidates have been identified as potential prognostic biomarkers to diagnose cancer stages
and progression, as well as to monitor follow-up treatment. In this review, we will discuss the miRNA profile in
each stage of head and neck patients' therapy, with an emphasis on its application to clinical outcome prognosis.
Keywords: Head and neck cancer, human papilloma virus, saliva, microRNA, dysregulation, resistance, prognostic marker, outcome.
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