The role of estrogen and androgen receptors in active stroma of oral cancer and its influence on patients survival – ACTIVSTROMORALCANCER

Project participants:

Aleksandra Fučić, Dragana Gabrić Pandurić, Antun Major, Zoran Rakušić, Vesna Bišof, Danko Velimir Vrdoljak, Čedna Tomasović-Lončarić, Mihajlo Virag

Head: Vanja Vučićević Boras

University of Zagreb, School of Dental Medicine

The incidence of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) in Croatia is 8.4 persons per 100.00 inhabitants. The highest incidence of cancer is in men over 50 years of age. Significantly increased risk of developing OSCC is among smokers and people who daily consume alcohol. OSCC is an aggressive cancer that metastasizes (about 50% of patients have at diagnosis lymph node metastases) thus the successful diagnosis is of major importance for effective therapy. Despite the development of new therapeutics in the treatment of OSCC, no significant increase in five-year survival has been recorded in the past decade. Standard algorithms of treatment include surgical dissection with radiotherapy, while chemotherapy is rarely applied. The latest research suggests that in OSCC is of great importance the evaluation of tumor stroma activation, as it may contain cells that produce signaling molecules crucial for the development of metastases. The aim of this project is to obtain insight into activated cells in the stroma of OSCC in relation to patient survival. The study will be based on archived tissues, and will involve assessing the level of receptor on malignant cells and stromal tumors (androgens, estrogens), metaloproteinase 9, cytokines (IL-1 beta, IL-6), vascular endothelial growth factor, hypoxia factors and factors Ki67 proliferation. The expected result will contribute to histological diagnostics and enable individual approach of OSCC therapy. Through questionnaires will be examined the lifestyle habits of patients, exposures, family history and their possible impact on the OSCC histological profile. Within the project a website will be developed which will contain results of the project, the base of current research projects, clinical studies, relevant publications and a forum. The website will contribute to better cooperation between clinicians and other interested experts, and bring benefit for patients as well as future international recognition.