Squamous cell carcinomas of the mouth (SCCM) are aggressive neoplasms that develop from the keratinocytes lining the oral mucosa and represent over 90% of tumors that occur in the mouth. Brazil has the highest incidence of SCCM among developing countries, and one of the world's highest occurrence rates. The main prognostic factor for poor survival in SCCM is the occurrence of metastatic disease in regional lymph nodes. Thus, the ability to predict this outcome will help identify patients who may benefit from a more radical surgical approach, while preserving those presenting less aggressive tumors, potentially contributing to greater and better survival rates. In this project we will investigate whether gene expression signatures determined from large-scale sequencing of cDNAs (RNASeq), can predict tumor lymph node invasion capabilities. For this, the complete transcriptome of small tumors (T1/T2) presenting lymph node disease will be compared with larger tumors (T3), with negative lymph nodes, derived from the same region. The large-scale sequencing will be done on the ABI5500 platform and computational analysis will be used to identify transcripts, gene-fusions or splicing isoforms as well as metabolic pathways associated with lymph node invasion potential. The findings will be assessed in independent samples, in order to challenge the validity of the potential markers set forth herein, hoping to determine clinically valuable biomarkers.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: