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July 25, 2014

Presentations to Focus on Risk Factors and Biomarkers in Head and Neck Cancers

NEW YORK (July 25, 2014) – Clinicians and researchers from Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University will present new findings from eight abstracts at the International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies World Congress (IFHNOS) being held July 26 – July 30 in New York. Data includes discoveries of risk factors for head and neck carcinomas and reveal pretreatment body mass as a significant predictor of head and neck cancer survival rates. A head and neck cancer diagnosis occurs every 10 minutes in the United States, though symptoms usually appear only in advanced stages.

"Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas can have a poor prognosis in some patients," said Richard V. Smith, M.D., F.A.C.S, director, Head and Neck Service, Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care and professor and vice chairman, Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and professor of Pathology and Surgery, Einstein. "The research we are presenting furthers our knowledge of risk factors associated with poor head and neck cancer outcomes and may enable improved monitoring and management of disease progression. We look forward to sharing these important data with our colleagues at this prestigious meeting."

This year's conference will feature lectures, oral abstracts and poster presentations made by nationally and internationally renowned otolaryngologists, head and neck surgeons, oncologists and researchers. Investigator findings focus on biomarkers that may predict survival from head and neck cancers.

Following is a sample of Montefiore-Einstein studies to be presented at the meeting, all of which are embargoed until the time of presentation. Investigators are available for interviews specific to the data or to comment on topics of interest coming out of IFHNOS 2014:

  1. Evaluation of Risk Factors and Outcomes Among a Contemporary Cohort of Patients with Index and Second Primary Head and Neck Squamous Cancer – A prospective study evaluating risk factors of patients with primary head and neck cancers revealed that traditional risk factors like smoking and alcohol were not strongly associated with development of secondary primary head and neck tumors within the patient group. Stratification of potential risk factors for these tumors could inform and influence new therapeutic decision-making. Presented by Caitlin P. McMullen, M.D., otorhinolaryngology resident, Einstein. Sunday, July 27 at 1:30 P.M.
  2. A Role for Apolipoprotein E in Invasion in HNSCC – Apolipoprotein E, a gene that has been studied as a risk factor for diseases like macular degeneration, was found to play a critical role in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma invasion based on an initial screen of global gene expression data and invasion patterns. Presented by Sangeeta K. Jayakar, M.S., Einstein Ph.D. student in the labs of Thomas Belbin, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pathology, Einstein, and Jeffrey Segall, Ph.D., Professor of Anatomy and Structural Biology and Pathology. Oral Paper. Tuesday, July 29 at 1:30 P.M.
  3. Pretreatment Body Mass Index Predicts Cancer Survival in Patients with Head and Neck Cancer – Investigators evaluated the relationship between 196 head and neck cancer patients' pretreatment height and weight and clinical outcomes. While rapid weight loss is an indicator of poor cancer outcome, head and neck cancer patients with higher body mass index prior to treatment had relatively better cancer survival. Presented by Nicolas F. Schlecht, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology & Population Health and Associate Professor, Department of Medicine (Oncology), Einstein. Poster of Distinction Presentation. Sunday, July 27 at 5:15 P.M.
  4. Combined p16 and HPV Expression Predicts Head and Neck Cancer Survival – P16 protein, a tumor suppressor and biomarker, can predict improved survival in patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma, a cancer that starts in the part of the throat just behind the mouth and tongue. The combination of p16 and HPV testing was also found to predict better clinical outcome for a subset of non-oropharyngeal head and neck cancers. Presented by Nicole Anayannis, M.Sc., an Einstein Ph.D. student in the lab of Michael Prystowsky, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of Pathology, Montefiore and Einstein, and Christian R. Salazar, Ph.D., Einstein postdoctoral research fellow, Department of Epidemiology & Population Health. Head & Neck Surgery. Poster Presentation. A paper on this study was also recently published in the International Journal of Cancer (17 April 2014; Sunday, July 27 at 1:30 P.M.