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Immune profile of patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma: association with human papillomavirus

Grant number: 19/11207-1
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2019
Effective date (End): August 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Immunology - Cellular Immunology
Principal researcher:Kenneth John Gollob
Grantee:Natalia Silva Alves
Home Institution: A C Camargo Cancer Center. Fundação Antonio Prudente (FAP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Head and neck tumors still show a high incidence in Brazil and in the world, with a mortality rate varying between 40 to 50%. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is a major risk factor for oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (or epidermoid carcinoma). Some types of high-risk HPV are responsible for the development of neoplastic lesions. In addition, patients with oropharyngeal epidermoid carcinoma associated with HPV have a better prognosis when compared to non-HPV infected patients. Genetic variability between different types of HPV and host immunity may elucidate mechanisms involved in tumor progression and aid in the identification of prognostic markers. This study includes a retrospective section in which the local tissue immunological profile of 30 paraffin-embedded stage III and IV (15 patients HPV+ and 15 patients HPV-) oropharyngeal epidermoid carcinoma samples, obtained by surgery at the A.C. Camargo Cancer Center, will be characterized by multiplex immunofluorescence. The HPV+ pieces will be also analyzed by next generation sequencing. In the prospective part, this study will recruit another group of 30 patients stage III and IV (15 patients HPV+ and 15 patients HPV-) with oropharyngeal epidermoid carcinoma subjected to chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy in the same hospital, where peripheral blood samples will be collected at 0, 4 and 24 weeks of treatment. Systemic immune characterization will be performed by multiparametric flow cytometry. Understanding the differences in immune profile caused by HPV infection and its association with the clinical outcome may help in understanding mechanisms of tumor development and in the development of more effective therapies. (AU)

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