September 15th 2010
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) represents a heterogeneous group of malignancies caused by the traditional risk factors of tobacco, alcohol, and poor oral hygiene, as well as more recently identified roles of human papillomavirus (HPV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).[1-3] We commend Kim and colleagues on their comprehensive review of the epidemiology of HNSCC. There has been a clear change in the epidemiology of HNSCC which has further accentuated differences in etiology, survival, and demographics among HNSCC patients. We will discuss several important nuances of this changing epidemiology, including the role of tobacco, race, sexual behavior, and gender, as well as HNSCC in nonsmokers and nondrinkers.