Project Title: Assessing the immune microenvironment in head and neck cancer

Faculty Mentor’s Name: Dr. Natalie Silver
Phone: 352-273-5199
Email: natalie.silver@ent.ufl.edu

Research Project Description:

This is a tissue based project looking at the immune microenvironment in head and neck cancer surgical specimens. The student will perform immunohistochemical staining or immunofluorescence on oral cancer samples and then help analyze the immune components of the tumor. This is a lab based project.

Entry Date: December 7, 2019

Project Title: Effects of Inhalation Anesthetics on Head and Neck Cancer

Faculty Mentor’s Name: Dr. Deepa Danan
Email: deepa.danan@ent.ufl.edu

Research Project Description:

Several studies have shown that immunosuppression occurs during the perioperative period as a result of the stress response from surgery, anesthesia, as well as other factors, such as blood transfusions.
Volatile inhalational agents are commonly utilized as maintenance anesthetics for surgical procedures. However, they have been associated with short term immunosuppression. Furthermore, both in vitro and in vivo studies have shown an association between inhalational anesthetics and an increase in cancer spread. Conversely, intravenous anesthetic agents, such as propofol and lidocaine, have been shown to have an anti-tumor effects. The purpose of this study is to determine whether anesthetic choice affects outcomes in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma undergoing surgical resection. Specifically, we aim to determine whether there is a difference in 1) recurrence-free survival, 2) overall survival, and 3) rate of postoperative infections between patients with squamous cell carcinoma undergoing head and neck cancer surgery with TIVA versus inhalation anesthetics.

The medical student involved in this project will perform a retrospective chart review of the past 5 years of patient charts of patients undergoing surgery for resection of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. The student will be a critical component for the retrospective study during the summer, and will also build a database for the prospective study and will have the option of participating in the prospective study over the following school year. The student will be listed as an author on the publication relating to the retropective study and potentially on the prospective study as well. IRB approval has been obtained. Funding has been applied for but not yet secured.

Entry Date: December 19, 2019