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Biomarkers of HPV-driven head and neck cancer in Latin America and Europe

Grant number: 17/04020-7
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: July 01, 2018 - June 30, 2021
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Collective Health - Epidemiology
Cooperation agreement: EU-CELAC IG (former ERA.Net - LAC)
Principal Investigator:Luisa Lina Villa
Grantee:Luisa Lina Villa
Principal investigator abroad: Mohssen Ansarin
Institution abroad: European Institute of Oncology (IEO), Italy
Principal investigator abroad: Marina Pollán
Institution abroad: Institut de Salud Carlos III, Majadahonda, Spain
Principal investigator abroad: Carlos Arturo Castanera Altamirano
Institution abroad: Universidad Científica del Sur, Peru
Home Institution: Faculdade de Medicina (FM). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Laura Cristina Sichero Vettorazzo ; Sandra Perdomo Velásquez ; Susanna Chiocca


Head and neck cancer (HNC), with an estimated global burden of approximately 700,000 incident cases and 380,000 deaths per year in 2012, has a high case fatality rate worldwide. Recent findings indicate that the incidence of HPV (Human papillomavirus)-driven HNC has been steadily increasing in the USA and some European countries. However, data from HPV prevalence in HNC is limited in Latin America. Mucosal high-risk human papillomaviruses (HR-HPVs), in particular HPV16, are responsible for a subset of oropharyngeal cancers (OPC) that appears to be associated with a better prognosis and response to treatment in comparison to HPV negative cancers. However, significant differences in the proportion of HPV-positive HNC have been reported in different countries and the clinical relevance of such findings remains to be determined. Due to the potential clinical relevance of the characterization of HPV status in HNC, it is of paramount importance to identify biomarkers of HPV infection to facilitate early diagnosis and improve clinical management of these patients, as well as prediction of tumor recurrence and its impact on long-term survival. Epidemiological information on lifestyles and other HNC risk factors as well as clinical, pathological and treatment information has been collected following standardized protocols. Several tests will be performed in cancer and non-neoplastic tissues and blood, in order to identify novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers of HNC, namely HPV DNA, RNA and serum antibodies. Moreover, expression of additional cellular proteins and genomic markers will be explored. We will estimate HNC survival adjusting for potential confounders and including an interaction between age, sex and HPV status. For this purpose, this consortium consists of three European and three South American partners with a complementary and broad spectrum of expertise in molecular biology, virology, clinical oncology, head and neck surgery, pathology, epidemiology and public health. (AU)