Update in management of head and neck sarcoma

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Abstract

Purpose of review

This update addressing head and neck sarcoma presents new data published after January 2003. This new information is presented following review of contemporary management principles established before 2003.

Recent findings

The application of advances in molecular and genetic techniques to characterize individual sarcomas has improved classification schemes and hopefully will lead to individually tailored therapy. Maturation and refinements of large tumor registries are permitting more detailed analysis of larger contemporary series of the rare head and neck sarcomas. Improved long-term survival of patients treated for sarcoma in their childhood has allowed study of the morbidity induced by treatment. Novel treatment strategies are under study to decrease morbidity without diminishing the chance for cure.

Summary

Progress in improving the treatment of sarcoma of the head and neck has been slow due to the lack of a large clinical experience with this rare neoplasm. Advances continue and are anticipated to be most striking in the study of genetic mechanisms.

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