Inflammation plays a critical role in the process of carcinogenesis as well as in modulating treatment effects of many therapeutic agents for head and neck malignancy. Current research indicates that a myriad of new diagnostic tools and treatment modality works in harmony in producing a desired effective cancer treatment regime. Imperatively, multiple inflammatory markers have surged in the genomic and molecular ecospheres as highly potential agents that can be used in screening, diagnosis, treatment as well as follow up of head and neck cancer patients. These markers include arrays of cytokines, peptides, macrophages, acute phase proteins, growth factors, and many more. The tumor microenvironment is a complex ecosystem and has an intricate relationship with its surrounding biosphere. The multiple interactions within the molecules in the cancer microenvironment play significant roles in mediating and promoting carcinogenesis as well as mitigating the treatment response. These complex ecosystems are also responsible for the occurrence of metastatic diseases, recurrences, and residual diseases. This chapter highlights some of the critical inflammatory markers that can be potentially used as a potent theranostic approach for head and neck tumors in the near future.
Keywords: Carcinogenesis, Chemokines, Head and neck malignancy, Immunomodulation, Inflammatory cascades, Inflammation ecosystem, Tumor microenvironment.