A significant amount of research indicates that the cyclooxygenase/prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) pathway of inflammation contributes to the development and progression of a variety of cancers, including squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity and oropharynx (OSCC). Although there have been promising results from studies examining the utility of anti-inflammatory drugs in the treatment of OSCC, this strategy has been met with only variable success and these drugs are also associated with toxicities that make them inappropriate for some OSCC patients. Improved inflammation-targeting therapies require continued study of the mechanisms linking inflammation and progression of OSCC. In this review, a synopsis of OSCC biology will be provided, and recent insights into inflammation related mechanisms of OSCC pathobiology will be discussed. The roles of prostaglandin E2 and cluster of differentiation factor 147 (CD147) will be presented, and evidence for their interactions in OSCC will be explored. Through continued investigation into the protumourigenic pathways of OSCC, more treatment modalities targeting inflammation-related pathways can be designed with the hope of slowing tumour progression and improving patient prognosis in patients with this aggressive form of cancer.
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