Fatty acid synthase (FASN) is the main enzyme involved in neoplastic lipogenesis and recently suggested as a metabolic oncoprotein by promoting the growth and survival of tumor cells, where its expression is generally high. Several malignancies have elevated expression and activity of FASN, including oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), where FASN is associated with tumor aggressiveness, metastatic spread, recurrence rates and poor prognosis. The oral SCC is the eighth most commonly diagnosed malignancy in the world, accounting for approximately 90% of all malignant tumors that affect the oral cavity. The overall survival of patients suffering from this type of cancer is approximately 50-60% in five years, which is clearly associated with advanced stage at diagnosis. Recent studies have identified important genetic changes during the progression of oral SCC, such as the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), in which polarized epithelial cells undergo biochemical, molecular and morphological changes resulting in the acquisition of a mesenchymal phenotype, with increased migration capacity, invasion and resistance to apoptosis. In the present project we intend to investigate the expression of EMT markers in metastatic oral SCC cells as well as the effects of orlistat, alone or associated with cisplatin and paclitaxel, on this phenomenon.
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