Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
The quality of life of patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) has been improved because of advances in surgical and radiotherapeutic techniques as well as organ-preservation methods. Despite such progresses, survival rates are dismal because of frequent recurrences, distant metastases and the development of secondary primary tumors. Nanoparticles have distinct characteristics such as a high surface/volume ratio and surface charge and size that can be easily modified. Because of such inherent features, nanoparticles are used in imaging, adjuvant radiotherapy, and drug- or gene-delivery. Thus, nanomedicine holds great promise in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. In the present review, we summarize recent advances in nanomedicine in the diagnosis and treatment of head and neck cancer. We first review the application of inorganic nanoparticles to photo-thermal and magneto-thermal radiotherapy. We also discuss the use of organic nanoparticles in drug- or genedelivery during chemotherapy. We then review the application of inorganic nanoparticles as radiotherapy enhancers. Finally, we address the factors that influence the biodistribution of nanoparticles in vivo.