Huda Alkhadar


Dundee Dental School

Park Place



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BDS. MDSc (Oral Cancer)

Project Title: Perineural Spread in Head and Neck Cancer

Supervisors: Dr Michaelina Macluskey, Dr Sharon White & Dr Ian Ellis

Perineural spread (PNS) is when neoplastic cells travel along nerve tracts far from the primary lesion. PNS is associated with disease recurrence, an increased probability of regional and distant metastasis and an overall decrease in 5-year survival rate in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and in salivary gland malignancies. A number of neurotrophic agents have been identified as being of possible importance in PNS in HNSCC such as nerve growth factor (NGF) and neural cell adhesion molecule (N-CAM).

The aims of this study are to

  • Determine the incidence of PNS in HNSCC and salivary gland malignancies
  • Investigate the expression of various neurotrophic factors in HNSCC and salivary gland tumours.
  • Determine if perineural spread adversely effects the outcome of patients with HNSCC and salivary gland tumours.

The proposed study would involve the immunohistochemical study to compare the expression of various markers in HNSCC and salivary gland tumours, further cell culture based work on NGF effects on the cells, could be undertaken to study the interaction of regulation of PNS in HNSCC and salivary gland tumours.