Identification of Biomarkers Influencing Treatment Response and Clinical Prognosis in Head and Neck Cancer

Cancer of the head and neck is the sixth most common form of cancer worldwide with about 1300 new cases per year in Sweden

The majority of all head and neck cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) having their origin in the mucosa of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, and nasal cavity.

Despite advances in surgical and oncological treatments that enhance quality of life with a palliative value, the overall survival rate has significantly not increased. A combination of radiotherapy and surgery or definitive chemoradiation is currently the primary mode of treatment for locally advanced HNSCC.

HNSCC often show resistance to treatments and the 5-year survival rate is merely 60%. Thus, there is a paramount need for assessment of predictive biomarkers and new targets for treatment.

Due to the limited predictive value of the currently available biomarkers currently available for guiding treatment recommendations, both under- and over treatment occur, with significant suffering and socio-economic waste as a result.

In this project, patient tumor biopsies, HNSCC cell lines that we have established from tumor biopsies and mice xenografts obtained from these cell lines are used for evaluation of therapies and characterization of tumor cell properties.

The main aim of these studies is to identify biomarkers that influence the response of tumors to anti-cancer therapy. Such factors may be useful predictors of treatment response and valuable tools in the development of personalized medicine. Ideally, these factors are also targetable, providing possibilities for the development of novel therapies.

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