Head and Neck cancer is the sixth most prevalent cancer worldwide. It involves a heterogeneous group of tumors that originates from the lip, oral cavity, oropharyngeal, hypopharyngeal, laryngeal, sinonasal tract and nasopharyngeal. These tumors are commonly classified as squamous cell carcinomas. They constitute 90% of the Head and Neck cancers and they present high rates of recurrence, metastasis and resistance to chemotherapy. Due the lack of efficacy of treatment, these tumors present the lowest survival rates compared to any main cancer. Chemoresistance can be intrinsic or acquired. Acquired resistance is an important problem for clinical medicine because tumors become resistant to the original drugs used during the treatment and they also can develop multidrug resistance. While intrinsic resistance originates before treatment, acquired resistance takes place after the treatment initiates. Cisplatin is the most used drug to treat Head and Neck cancers and during the process of the resistance to Cisplatin, genetic mutations are frequently accumulated and several epigenetic modifications are associated to the activation of signalings that protect cells against damage and death. Therefore, the aim of this project is to characterize epigenetic modifications involved in the intrinsic and acquired resistance to cisplatin, exploring their effects on the morphology and epithelial to mesenchymal transition in Head and Neck cell lines.
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