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KKG Personalized radiotherapy for head and neck tumors

  • Head: PD Dr. Anna Friedl
  • Institution:Department of Radiation Oncology,


Ziel des Projektes ist die Identifizierung und Validierung von Markern für die Strahlenempfindlichkeit von Plattenepithelkarzinomen im Kopf-Hals-Bereich, die eine Stratifizierung von Patienten und Personalisierung des Therapiekonzeptes erlauben.

Description of the project:

Cancers of the head and neck are among the six most common cancers worldwide. Despite advances in therapy, a large proportion of the diseases are fatal. Radiotherapy plays a very important role in the overall concept of curative therapy of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, both in the adjuvant situation after surgery and in the primary treatment situation (possibly in combination with chemotherapy). However, response to radiotherapy shows large interindividual differences. Some tumors have intrinsic protective mechanisms, making them resistant to the doses of radiation normally used. On the other hand, radiation doses cannot be increased arbitrarily because of the side effects associated with therapy. It would therefore be desirable to be able to identify those tumors that are likely to respond poorly to radiotherapy before therapy begins, in order to be able to offer a "tailored" so-called personalized therapy for individual patients.

In preliminary work by scientists of the Department of Radiation Cytogenetics at Helmholtz Zentrum München, certain changes in the genetic material of head and neck tumors were identified that correlated with poorer survival of patients treated with radiotherapy. These so-called cytogenetic markers will now be retrospectively validated in larger patient groups in collaboration with the Clinic and Polyclinic for Radiotherapy and Radiation Oncology at the Ludwig Maximilian University Hospital in Munich (LMU). In collaboration with the Department of Otorhinolaryngology of the LMU, a patient cohort for a prospective study will be established. In addition to validating the markers already described, new markers that can predict the radiation sensitivity of the tumors will also be sought. For this purpose, tumor material obtained by surgery or biopsies will be examined using a series of genome-wide screening methods, and the changes detected will be tested for correlation with clinical data, including follow-up data.

Source: HMGU