Chemoprevention of head and neck and lung (pre)cancer.

N. de Vries, N. van Zandwijk, U. Pastorino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Oral cancer is often preceded by precancerous lesions, the most common of which is leukoplakia. Several treatment modalities are available: elimination of the possible cause, cold knife, laser, or cryosurgery, and topical application of bleomycin and 5-fluorouracil. In research, oral leukoplakia is used as a model to study the value of chemoprevention as a strategy to prevent cancer, because its effect is directly visible and material for analysis is easily obtainable from the mouth. In several studies and chemoprevention trials the efficacy of retinoids, retinol and/or beta-carotene on oral leukoplakia has been demonstrated. Second primary tumors occur in 10-30% of head and neck cancer patients and 10% of lung cancer patients. Chemoprevention offers an attractive approach to combat this threat to such patients, which is bound to cast a shadow over their lives. In the last 10-15 years several chemoprevention studies with vitamin A, retinoids or agents working through other mechanisms (antioxidants) have been launched. The largest chemoprevention study in curatively treated early-stage oral cancer, laryngeal cancer and lung cancer (N = 2595) is EUROSCAN, an EORTC study initiated in 1988. End-points are second tumors, local/regional recurrence and distant metastases, and long-term survival rates. Preminary results will be available in 1998.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-25
Number of pages13
JournalRecent results in cancer research. Fortschritte der Krebsforschung. Progres dans les recherches sur le cancer
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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