Epigenetic changes in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Datum početka projekta
Datum kraja projekta
Kategorija projekta
Projekti Hrvatske zaklade za znanost

The most common risk factors for development of head and neck cancer (HNC) are tobacco, alcohol,microbial factors (high-risk human papillomaviruses, hrHPVs), systemic factors (immunosuppression, micronutrient deficiency) and UV-radiation.

There are approximately 600,000 new cases annually that accounts for 3-6% of all malignancies worldwide. In Croatia, there are about 1,000 new HNC cases annually representing 4.5% of all cancer cases. Despite aggressive treatment of HNC patients, which entails surgery, chemo- and radio-therapy, the five-year survival is only 40-50%.

HNC patients with HPV infection were found to have better prognosis and treatment response. Besides the HPV status, no adequate biomarkers have been found so far to predict the poor/good clinical outcome nor is the mechanism of how HPV modulates therapy response fully understood. Epigenetic changes such as DNA methylation of specific gene promoters and posttranscriptional modification of genes by specific microRNA (miRNA) seems to be promising biomarkers of disease occurrence and progression.

Therefore, the primary objective of this study is to identify novel specific epigenetic biomarkers to predict the treatment response or more reliably diagnose precancerous lesions and patients at greater risk for developing invasive cancer. This project is a comprehensive interdisciplinary research on the basis of HNC development and potential new approaches for their diagnosis and treatment.

This project, which includes basic and clinical research, will enable the improvement of existing knowledge and international competitiveness, development of new technological approaches in diagnostics and prognostics of HNC


  • Sabol I, Smahelova J, Klozar J, Mravak-Stipetic M, Gheit T, Tommasino M, Grce M, Tachezy R. Beta-HPV types in patients with head and neck pathology and in healthy subjects. J Clin Virol. 2016 Sep;82:159-65. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2016.07.019. Epub 2016 Jul 28
  • Dediol E, Sabol I, Virag M, Grce M, Muller D, Manojlović S. HPV prevalence and p16INKa overexpression in non smoking non drinking oral cavity cancer patients. Oral Dis. 2016 Mar 19. doi:10.1111/odi.12476.
  • Mravak-Stipetić M, Lončar-Brzak B, Bakale-Hodak I, Sabol I, Seiwerth S, Majstorović M, Grce M. Clinicopathologic correlation of oral lichen planus and oral lichenoid lesions: a preliminary study. Sci World J. 2014;2014:746874.
Glavni istraživač / voditelj
Magdalena Grce

Magdalena Grce, dr.sc.

znanstvena savjetnica +385 1 456 1110

Ostali suradnici

Ostali suradnici s IRB-a

  • Ivan Sabol
  • Ksenija Božinović
  • Jasminka Golubić Talić

Vanjski suradnici

  • Emil Dediol, University Hospital Dubrava, Department of Maxillofacial Surgery, Zagreb, Croatia
  • Antonia Jakovčević, University Clinical Hospital Zagreb, Depatment of Pathology, Petrova 13, Zagreb, Croatia
  • Spomenka Manojlović, University Hospital Dubrava, Department of Pathology, Zagreb, Croatia
  • Marinka Mravak Stipetić, School of Dental medicine, Department of oral medicine, University of Zagreb, Gundulićeva 5, Zagreb, Croatia
  • Drago Prgomet, University hospital center Zagreb, ENT and head and neck Department, Kišpatićeva 12, Zagreb, Croatia
  • Zoran Rakušić, University Hospital Center Zagreb, Oncology Clinic, Kišpatićeva 12, Zagreb, Croatia
Najnoviji radovi ZMM-a

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