Head and neck cancer is the seventh most common cancer in Brazil and affects 15,000 patients yearly. Despite the advancements brought to the field in the past several years the treatment remains a challenge regarding its specificity. Importantly, nowadays we are still lacking biomarkers in order to foresee the prognosis of this devastating disease. Consequently, aggressive surgeries for tumor removal end up with functional mutilation of the patients, i.e., inability of swallowing or seeing. In the past few years several proteases, such as matriptase, have been related to epithelial cancers of different origins. Recently we have shown that LEKTI efficiently inhibits matriptase proteolytic pathways in the epidermis. Moreover our preliminary data shows that LEKTI is increased in chemically induced murine carcinomas, particularly in well-differentiated cells throughout the tumor mass. In this study we aim to evaluate LEKTI in head and neck cancer human biopsies (associated or not to HPV infection) through immunohistochemistry. Moreover, we will later associate such data with clinical information and prognosis associated to each patient.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: