Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) arises in the oral cavity, oropharynx, larynx and hypopharynx and is the sixth leading cancer by incidence worldwide.
HNSCC is a heterogeneous disease which arises either due to exposition to tobacco- and alcohol-derived carcinogens or infection with high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV).
HPV-induced tumors show molecular and clinical features, which differ from tobacco-and alcohol- induced disease, and associated with a more favorable clinical outcome. In the last decade, the incidence of HPV-associated HNSCC has increased potentiating the research on this subgroup of HNSCC.
The main goal of the current translational research is to establish therapeutic protocols which would differentiate between HPV-positive and HPV-negative subgroups in order to reduce side effects associated with a standard chemoradiation strategy. Identification of the HPV-specific molecular determinants is a prerequisite for establishing novel therapeutic strategies which will encompass molecular targeting in combination with a HPV-specific immunomodulating therapy.
Based on our experience on the analysis of tumour-immune system interactions, we plan to investigate whether adoptive transfer of HPV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte can enhance tumour regression. In parallel, we plan to identify new biomarkers, which will be used as basis for the development of new immunogenic targets for HPV-positive and HPV-negative HNSCC.
Our research team publications are presented in full in UniSciences, the University of Lausanne Research Database.