Metabolic symbiosis between cancer cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts in head and neck cancer
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) represents the sixth leading cancer by incidence worldwide. The prognosis of HNSCC is based on the TNM staging system, which ultimately results in the same treatment for different HNSCC tumors. This heterogeneity may lie in distinct metabolic profiles of individual HNSCC tumors. Many types of cancer exhibit metabolic symbiosis between tumor cells and cells of the surrounding stroma, mainly cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). This process involves transport of catabolites from CAFs to adjacent cancer cells by various transporters, such as monocarboxylic acid transporters (MCTs), which allows cancer cells to produce ATP, stimulate proliferation and reduce apoptosis. In this project, we want to further study the metabolic symbiosis between the cancer cells and surrounding stromal CAFs. Furthermore, we would like to investigate the metabolic profiles of distinct compartments within the HNSCC stroma with an effort to find potential prognostic markers and therapeutic targets of HNSCC.