Oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) represents more than 90% of malignant neoplasms affecting the oral cavity and, despite recent advances in treatment strategies, remains a challenging health problem around the world. The treatment of oral SCC is usually based on surgery or radiotherapy, with or without concomitant chemotherapy, and the survival rates are around 50% in 5 years, largely due to the advanced stage at the time of diagnosis and consequent development of regional and distant metastases, recurrences, and resistance to therapy. The enzyme fatty acid synthase (FASN) is responsible for the neoplastic lipogenesis and has been considered a potential therapeutic target for cancer treatment due to its differential expression in normal and malignant cells. In oral SCC, high FASN expression and activity is associated with tumor aggressiveness and metastasis. Recent studies suggest the presence of tumor stem cells (TSC) subpopulations in several cancers, which seem to be responsible for the initiation, tumorigenesis, progression, metastasis and resistance to conventional chemotherapeutic therapies. In this research project, we intend to investigate the positivity for the TSC markers CD133 CTT, CD44, CD24 in primary and metastatic oral SCC cell lines. In addition, the effects of the FASN blockage with orlistat, associated or not with cisplatin and paclitaxel, on TSC will be analyzed.
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