Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is a malignant neoplasm with high morbidity and mortality rates. Oral potentially malignant disorders such as oral leukoplakia (OL) and proliferative verrucous leukoplakia (PVL) are precursor lesions of OSCC. Understanding the process of malignancy of these lesions can anticipate the diagnosis of OSCC, improve the prognosis and bring therapeutic opportunities. In a recent study by our group (dos Santos et al., 2020, unpublished), through discovery-based proteomics, it was possible to observe a panel of potential molecular signatures in the tear fluids of patients with OL, LVP, OSCC, and control patients, which may be associated with malignancy, as well as the association of proteins related to chronic alcohol consumption, alterations in the immune system, and features associated with malignant transformation, such as epithelial dysplasia. To translate this knowledge for clinical practice, these markers must be validated in an independent cohort of patients. In this study, we propose to verify two markers of malignancy using two approaches. In the first one, we will use tissues embedded in paraffin blocks to understand the role of these targets in the tissue context, as well as the relationship of these markers with the immune system. In the second, we will use targeted-based proteomics to monitor these markers in the tear fluids of an independent cohort of patients. This translational project aims to indicate molecular markers to aid in early diagnosis, prognosis well as correlating these findings with the immunological profile of patients.
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