Oral cancers are among the common head and neck malignancies. Different anticancer therapy modalities such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, and also targeted molecular therapy may be prescribed for targeting oral malignancies. Traditionally, it has been assumed that targeting malignant cells alone by anticancer modalities such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy suppresses tumor growth. In the last decade, a large number of experiments have confirmed the pivotal role of other cells and secreted molecules in the tumor microenvironment (TME) on tumor progression. Extracellular matrix and immunosuppressive cells such as tumor-associated macrophages, myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), and regulatory T cells (Tregs) play key roles in the progression of tumors like oral cancers and resistance to therapy. On the other hand, infiltrated CD4 + and CD8 + T lymphocytes, and natural killer (NK) cells are key anti-tumor cells that suppress the proliferation of malignant cells. Modulation of extracellular matrix and immunosuppressive cells, and also stimulation of anticancer immunity have been suggested to treat oral malignancies more effectively. Furthermore, the administration of some adjuvants or combination therapy modalities may suppress oral malignancies more effectively. In this review, we discuss various interactions between oral cancer cells and TME. Furthermore, we also review the basic mechanisms within oral TME that may cause resistance to therapy. Potential targets and approaches for overcoming the resistance of oral cancers to various anticancer modalities will also be reviewed. The findings for targeting cells and potential therapeutic targets in clinical studies will also be reviewed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101
JournalCancer Cell International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • CD8 + T lymphocytes
  • Cancer-Associated fibroblasts
  • Immunotherapy
  • Oral Cancer
  • Tumor Microenvironment
  • Tumor-Associated Macrophages


Dive into the research topics of 'Targeting oral tumor microenvironment for effective therapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this