Gencapo – Head and Neck Genome Project

Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is one of the most common cancers in Brazil. Its main risk factors are alcohol and tobacco abuse and recent publications have suggested that human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is also related to head and neck tumorigenesis and may alter the tumor profile and outcome.

Clinically, HNSCCs may remain locally invasive or be more aggressive and metastasize. Histologically similar lesions can follow divergent clinical courses and show different responses to therapy, probably as a result of etiologic and molecular heterogeneity, and microenvironmental factors. They are frequently diagnosed at a late stage of the disease, when the chances of cure are lower and the treatments are more aggressive. Unfortunately, even when the patients present with early-stage disease, recurrence, local and distant metastasis and a second primary tumor can occur.

Several factors have been associated with prognosis of HNSCC, including the presence of lymph node metastasis, abnormal gene methylation and altered expression of genes and proteins involved in critical cellular processes. The present study (The Head and Neck Genome Project / GENCAPO) aims to investigate lifestyle factors, HPV infection, as well as clinical, histopathological and molecular factors associated with development and prognosis of HNSCC.

The GENCAPO Group consists of more than 50 researchers from 10 institutions in São Paulo State and from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, Lyon, France), including epidemiologists, surgeons, molecular biologists, pathologists, bioinformaticists and informaticists working to develop clinical, genetic and epidemiological analysis of head and neck carcinomas. To achieve their aims, five clinical centers have collected epidemiological and biological samples from patients and from healthy subjects.

The Group has worked together since 2005 and has published many papers in scientific journals and over to a dozen of master’s and PhD theses, promoting scientific interchange among researchers, guideline standardization and new collaborations. GENCAPO represents the first initiative to obtain financial support to organize a Brazilian research network to study head and neck cancer, which will be integrated into the international network InterCHANGE.

Goals

The present study (The Head and Neck Genome Project / GENCAPO) aims to investigate lifestyle factors, HPV infection, as well as clinical, histopathological and molecular factors associated with development and prognosis of HNSCC.

Fundings

The initial FAPESP budget is estimated at: R$ 764.790,81 and U$ 375.112,3.

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