Cancer of the head and neck - analysis of biological characteristics and an attempt to improve treatment results

Principal investigator at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana: Prof. Primoz Strojan, PhD

Proposed research program consists of 4 work packages of themes dealing with problems important for patients with cancer of the head and neck (CHN), not properly addressed in the literature or being new.

WP1. New approaches to treatment
Studies are focused at identification of patients who are candidates for individual treatment regimens and at implementation of new treatment methods.
Theme 1: Assessment of skin reaction (rash) after targeted therapy with cetuximab and radiotherapy as a predictive marker for treatment efficacy (prospective phase II clinical study).
Theme 2: Evaluation of changes in MR- diffusion and perfusion parameters during
 radiochemotherapy as markers predictive for early tumour response to therapy (prospective clinical study).
Theme 3: Assessment of possible implementation of electrochemotherapy as a new mode of treatment for selected tumors of the head and neck (prospective phase I-II pilot study).

WP2. Adverse effects of oncological treatment
Studies are focused at analysis of functional impairments of upper aero digestive organs (breathing, swallowing, speech) after oncological treatment and at assessment of chances for prevention and rehabilitation.
Theme 1: Systematic assessment (subjective, objective) of breathing, swallowing and speech in patients treated for CHN with analysis of factors affecting these functions (prospective clinical study).
Theme 2: Options of prevention and early rehabilitation (simulation dosimetry studies, implementation and prospective evaluation of new methods).

WP3. Human papillomavirus (HPV)
Studies are focused at comprehensive assessment (epidemiological, clinical) of problem related to HPV-positive CHN.
Theme 1: Assessment of epidemiological situation and clinical study on the influence of HPV-positive CHN in Slovenian population (epidemiological analysis of Cancer Registry for Slovenia database and retrospective clinical and histopathological study).
Theme 2: Evaluation of possibilities for intensity de-escalation of non-surgical treatment in HPV-positive CHN (in vitro and in vivo study).

WP4. Nutritional status
Studies are focused at investigation of relationship between nutritional status and efficacy/toxicity of oncological treatment and at assessment of methods for recognition and prediction of malnutrition development.
Theme 1: Assessment of the impact of nutritional parameters to efficacy and toxicity of oncological treatment (prospective cohort study).
Theme 2: Comparison of different methods for recognition and prediction of development of different malnutrition stages in patients with CHN (prospective clinical study).

Details about the project are available on the website SICRIS: Cancer of the head and neck - analysis of biological characteristics and an attempt to improve treatment results