Getting personal: Head and neck cancer management in the era of genomic medicine

Andrew C. Birkeland, Wendy R. Uhlmann, J. Chad Brenner, Andrew G. Shuman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background Genetic testing is rapidly becoming an important tool in the management of patients with head and neck cancer. As we enter the era of genomics and personalized medicine, providers should be aware of testing options, counseling resources, and the benefits, limitations, and future of personalized therapy. Methods This article offers a primer to assist clinicians treating patients in anticipating and managing the inherent practical and ethical challenges of cancer care in the genomic era. Results Clinical applications of genomics for head and neck cancer are emerging. We discuss the indications for genetic testing, types of testing available, implications for care, privacy/disclosure concerns, and ethical considerations. Hereditary genetic syndromes associated with head and neck neoplasms are reviewed, and online genetics resources are provided. Conclusion This article summarizes and contextualizes the evolving diagnostic and therapeutic options that impact the care of patients with head and neck cancer in the genomic era.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E2250-E2258
JournalHead and Neck
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • cancer
  • ethics
  • genomics
  • head and neck
  • personalized medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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