Pathology of the Head and Neck is an easy sounding title for a complex subject matter. This title stands for an accumulation of diverse diseases occurring in different organs whose relationship to each other consists in the fact that they are located between the base of the skull and the thoracic aperture. One reason for assembling all these different organs under the title "Pathology of the Head and Neck" is that the proximity of the organs of the head and neck region makes it difficult for the surgical pathologist to focus on one of these organs and neglect the pathology of others, which are only a centimetre apart. A second reason, however, is that the upper digestive tract and the upper respiratory tract, which meet in the larynx, have some basic diseases in common, notably squamous cell carcinoma. Thus pathology of the head and neck is both an arbitrary compilation of diseases and, at least to some extent, a group of disease entities with a common morphological and pathoge-netic trunk.

The past years have seen remarkable advances in many fields of pathology, including that of the head and neck. There is a need for a book that integrates surgical pathology with molecular genetics, epidemiology, clinical behaviour and biology. This book provides a comprehensive description of the manifold aspects of the morphology and pathology of the organs of the head and neck region. These description, as comprehensive as they may be, also show that there are some areas of the pathology of the head and neck that remain an unexplored world. Examples include the never-ending problem of prognostication of tumour diseases, the patho-genetic significance of tumour precursor lesions and the validation of appropriate sets of tumour markers as meaningful predictors of malignancy.

The editors of the book, Professor Antonio Cardesa and Professor Pieter Slootweg, are leading experts in the field of the pathology of the head and neck. As such they are the main members of the Working Group on Pathology of the Head and Neck of the European Society of Pathology, one of the first European working groups to be founded under the auspices of the European Society of Pathology. In this multi-author book the expertise of outstanding experts on the pathology of the head and neck in Europe is reflected. The chapters are characterised by the desire to correlate pathology with all necessary information on clinical features, epidemiology, pathogenesis and molecular genetics. The authors of these chapters have not attempted to be encyclopaedic, but rather have aimed at providing concise, yet adequate knowledge. They are therefore to be warmly commended for providing us with an excellent book, which will prove useful to surgical pathologists involved in the pathology of the head and neck.

Kiel, Germany Günter Klöppel

March 2006

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