Many FDA-approved anti-cancer therapies, targeted toward a wide array of molecular targets and signaling networks, have been demonstrated to activate the unfolded protein response (UPR). Despite a critical role for UPR signaling in the apoptotic execution of cancer cells by many of these compounds, the authors are currently unaware of any instance whereby a cancer drug was developed with the UPR as the intended target. With the essential role of the UPR as a driving force in the genesis and maintenance of the malignant phenotype, a great number of pre-clinical studies have surged into the medical literature describing the ability of dozens of compounds to induce UPR signaling in a myriad of cancer models. The focus of the current work is to review the literature and explore the role of the UPR as a mediator of chemotherapy-induced cell death in squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck (HNSCC) and oral cavity (OCSCC), with an emphasis on preclinical studies.
- ER stress
- Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
- Natural products
- Oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma
- Unfolded protein response