The Immunobiology Blood and Tissue Collection of Upper Aerodigestive Malignancies Protocol is a discovery and exploratory protocol that will enable the investigators to obtain and archive biological specimens from patients with cancer of the head and neck, thorax and upper gastrointestinal tract, who are receiving or may receive treatments known or hypothesized to have an immunomodulatory antitumor effect. The investigators aim to conduct immunologic studies across tumor types and treatment modalities in order to accomplish the following:
- Gain mechanistic insights into the potential influence of various forms of cancer therapy on antitumor immunity, including but not limited to chemotherapies, kinase inhibitors, angiogenesis inhibitors, immune-modulating monoclonal antibodies, cellular immune therapies and radiation therapy.
- Define new tumor antigens and the tumor antigens’ relevance to disease biology, and correlate antigen expression with immune responses and disease outcomes.
- Evaluate potential immune-related prognostic or treatment response indicators.
- Assess the immunologic features of pre-malignant lesions (e.g., atypical or dysplastic nevi, dysplastic bronchial epithelium, colonic adenomas), and compare these features to features of invasive cancers.
- Investigate the immunobiology of neoadjuvant and adjuvant cancer therapies, including but not limited to cancer vaccines.
- Develop protein-, RNA-, and DNA-based blood markers to monitor tumor burden and predict and detect tumor relapse.
- Evaluate the causative mechanisms of immune-related toxicities in patients receiving cancer therapy with immune checkpoint blockade.
- Characterize factors and molecular pathways in the tumor immune microenvironment that lead to immune suppression, tolerance to tumor antigens, and cancer progression.
- Understand the epidemiology of and risk factors for particular immune related adverse events (irAEs) including inflammatory arthritis, sicca syndrome and myositis
To support the above research aims, biological specimens obtained and processed in the individual laboratories of the co-investigators will be linked by a centralized demographic database, allowing for the retrieval of information regarding specimen characteristics (e.g., tumor type, treatment exposure, date of specimen retrieval, anatomic site of biopsy, biopsy procedure) and clinical outcomes. Participants starting on immune checkpoint inhibitors will complete a survey when the participants enroll on study to assess for potential risk factors for irAE development. Participants will also undergo knee radiographs to evaluate for osteoarthritis, baseline survey for personal and family historical risk factors, and serial surveys designed to screen for development of irAEs This information will be correlated with the results of exploratory scientific analyses conducted in the laboratories of the co-investigators. Hypotheses generated from this work are expected to support future hypothesis-driven scientific investigations and clinical trial development.
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