Clinical outcome, Pathological results and immunohistochemical findings of rare subtypes of soft tissue sarcomas
Soft tissue sarcoma (STS) represent a highly heterogeneous group of rare, malignant tumors of mesenchymal origin, with more than 50 subtypes described. For the majority of advanced, metastatic cases of STS, clinicians still have to rely on conventional chemotherapy. Despite all efforts, advanced-stage STS is still almost invariably fatal, showing a clear need for novel therapies and the identification of patients who might benefit from these treatments. Several new compounds, mostly targeted agents, are currently being tested, but their efficacy seems to depend on the STS subtype and/or molecular changes present in the tumor.
The main aim of this PhD project is to learn about the biology and pathogenesis of these orphan, aggressive, malignant tumors of mesenchymal origin to find new prognostic biomarkers, potential therapeutic targets and predictive markers for response to targeted agents such as crizotinib, using a new tissue micro-array (TMA) platform of well annotated subtypes of STS. We will use these TMAs to study the biology and molecular pathways in different subtypes of STS using immunohistochemistry, fluorescence in situ hybridization and in situ hybridization. These histological and molecular findings will be correlated with clinical data.
The ultimate goal of this project is to improve patient care, clinical outcome and quality of life of STS patients. Identification of e.g. factors predicting the response to crizotinib, would help to develop more patient-specific therapies. Furthermore, important results in this project will facilitate future STS research, as well as research in othere, more frequent tumor types.