Cell Biomarkers To Distinguish Deadly From Less Aggressive HPV Oral Cancers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Elizabeth Franzmann, M.D. Scientific Founder and Chief Scientific Officer Vigilant Biosciences

Dr. Elizabeth Franzmann

Elizabeth Franzmann, M.D.
Scientific Founder and Chief Scientific Officer
Vigilant Biosciences

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Head and neck cancer involves cancers of the oral cavity, oropharynx and larynx. It is difficult to treat. Part of the challenge is that it is distinguishing the patients with tumors that are going to behave aggressively from those with less aggressive disease. As a result, many patients undergo treatment that may be more intensive and morbid than they need while others need more aggressive treatment. Tissue markers associated with prognosis may be able to help clinicians differentiate patients who need more aggressive treatment from those whose treatment can be less intensive. CD44 is a cell surface glycoprotein and tumor-initiating marker. CD44 and another surface protein, EGFR, are involved in tumor extension and are associated with poor prognosis. Certain forms of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) are known to cause oropharyngeal cancer and are associated with a good prognosis. P16 is a surrogate marker for the kind of HPV that causes cancer. Understanding the relationships between how these markers are expressed in cancer tissue may direct patient treatment in the future.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

• As expected from other author’s prior work, p16 staining in the nucleus of most cells was associated with significantly better progression-free survival. When staining for p16 was only in the edges of the tumor or only in a fraction of the cells, prognosis was worse.
• Strong CD44 and EGFR expression was associated with tumors that did not express p16 and were thus likely HPV negative.
• Strong EGFR expression in the cytoplasm was associated with worse progression-free survival

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: In the future, tissue markers such as CD44, EGFR and p16 may help direct treatment plans so that only the patients that need it will receive more intensive (and more morbid) treatments

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Larger studies using more tissues from head and neck cancer patients and p16, CD44 and EGFR should be performed.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Head and neck cancer is a very debilitating and deadly disease that we cure only 50% of the time. When successfully treated, many patients suffer from speech, swallowing and breathing problems that plague them for the rest of their lives. Identifying patients harboring the most deadly forms of the disease will help clinicians to better direct aggressive treatment to the patients that need it, while avoiding complications and debilitating side effects in the patients whose disease can be successfully treated with less aggressive therapies.

Elizabeth Franzmann, M.D. serves as the Scientific Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Vigilant Biosciences. Her innovative clinical research on selective salivary biomarkers for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma serves as the foundation for Vigilant Biosciences’ product line.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation: Abstract presented at the
American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) Foundation 2016 Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO,
Immunohistochemistry Analysis of CD44, EGFR, and p16 in Oral Cancer

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on October 3, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD