Drug Discov Ther. 2017;11(4):170-180. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2017.01030)

Higher incidence of nasopharyngeal carcinoma in some regions in the world confers for interplay between genetic factors and external stimuli.

Roy Chattopadhyay N, Das P, Chatterjee K, Choudhuri T


Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a rare variety of head and neck cancers. The risk factors include three major causes: genetic factors, viral infection, and environmental and dietary factors. The types of NPC show strong ethnic and geographic variations. The keratinizing and non-keratinizing types are prevalent in the lower incidence regions like North America and Europe; whereas the undifferentiated type is mostly found in the regions with higher incidences like China, North Africa, Arctic, and Nagaland of North-East India. These suggest a possible major role of the internal genetic factors for generation and promotion of this disease. Viral infections might accelerate the process of carcinogenesis by helping in cellular proliferation and loss of apoptosis. Diet and other environmental factors promote these neoplastic processes and further progression of the disease occurs.

KEYWORDS: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma, incidence, ethnic variation, undifferentiated NPC, North-East India

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