The laboratory for tumour biology (CLCC Paul Strauss) has focused his interest on the molecular aspects of the carcinogenesis and metastasis of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).
By combining a Differential Display and an Affymetrix GeneChip approach, comparing a set of tumours to normal adjacent tissue, we have identified a set of 136 genes which expression is deregulated in tumours. Inaddition, we have identified of a molecular signature that predicts the occurrence of distant metastasis. We have postulated that the deregulation of a particular set of genes in the primary tumour is necessary to bring a growth advantage to these cells, which will become able to seed novel tumours at a distance. T
he identification of these markers would provide a tool to discriminate patients for adequate treatment in order to prevent tumour to metastasize. We compared a group of tumours that developed distant metastases as a first event within a 36 months follow-up period to a set of tumours that did not evolve at all during the same period. Compared analysis of genomic and transcriptional aberrations in these two groups of lesions allowed us to recover a 4-gene molecular signature that predicts the occurrence of future metastasis with asuccess rate of 78%. Finally, we detected the presence of transcriptionnally active human papillomavirus (HPV) genome in a subset of these tumours. HPV is known to be responsible for about 25% of HNSCC,and to relate to an improved prognosis. We identified an HPV-specific loss of genetic material on the 16q chromosome, and recovered a cluster of genes located in this region that display a downregulated expression in HPV-related HNSCC.
Cancerology: Breast cancer; ENT cancer; Gynaecological cancer; Thyroid cancer.