Feature Reviews of the Molecular Mechanisms of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma

Li Jen Liao, Wan Lun Hsu, Chi Ju Chen*, Yen Ling Chiu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is rare in most parts of the world but endemic in southern Asia. Here, we describe the molecular abnormalities in NPC and point out potential molecular mechanisms for future therapy. This article provides a brief up-to-date review focusing on the molecular pathways of NPC, which may improve our knowledge of this disease, and we also highlight some issues for further research. In brief, some heritable genes are related to NPC; therefore, people with a family history of NPC have an increased risk of this disease. Carcinogenic substances and Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) exposure both contribute to tumorigenesis through the accumulation of multiple genomic changes. In recent years, salted fish intake has decreased the impact on NPC, which implies that changing exposure to carcinogens can modify the risk of NPC. Eradication of cancer-associated viruses potentially eradicates cancer, and EBV vaccines might also prevent this disease in the future. Screening patients by using an EBV antibody is feasible in the high-risk group; plasma EBV DNA measurement could also be conducted for screening, prognosis, and monitoring of this disease. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of NPC can further provide novel information for health promotion, disease screening, and precision cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1528
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Epstein–Barr virus
  • molecular mechanisms
  • nasopharyngeal carcinoma


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