A compound found in magnolia trees could be used to treat squamous cell head and neck cancers, a scourge among those who use tobacco and alcohol, according to US researchers. The phytochemical honokiol extracted from magnolia bark has been shown to shrink tumors via several different biochemical pathways, which bodes well for preventing resistance to the drug developing. However, the primary target is the protein epidermal growth factor receptor, or EGFR, which honokiol inhibits. EGFR is over-expressed in almost all head and neck cancers. Senior author Santosh Katiyar: "Conclusively, honokiol appears to be an attractive bioactive small molecule phytochemical for the management of head and neck cancer which can be used either alone or in combination with other available therapeutic drugs."