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Scientific Officer

Dr. Sharada Suhas Sawant

Scientific Officer 'F'

Honors and Recognitions

  • First prize received in the Contest for Microscopic techniques in the International conference in 2020
  • Best poster presentation award received at international Conference on Stem Cells & Cancer in 2013
  • The Prof. Yasuzumi award received from Electron Microscope Society of India in 2010
  • National talent search award at AIIMS-Kochi received in 2009
  • Best poster presentation award in the International Symposium on Keratin Biology in 2007
  • Vocational Excellence Award from Rotary Club, New Bombay received in 2006
  • Excellent poster presentation international award received at Xian-China in 2004

Research Interests

Microscopy- a major in transmission electron microscopy, laser confocal microscopy and optical microscopy.

Cell Cytoskeleton- with special reference to vimentin and keratins.

Tissue/cell pathology- identification of specific sub-cellular features at ultrastructural level.

Cancer stem cell: role in the development of chemo/radiation resistance.

Special protocols- in-vitro construction of 3-D co-culture model, cancer stem cell enrichment using the strategy of spear formation, single and dual immune-gold labeling.


The prime goal of our research is to identify molecular biomarkers for early detection and prognostic evaluation of oral cancer. Biomarkers can be used for patient assessment in multiple clinical settings. In this direction, we have evaluated the diagnostic and prognostic potential of some solid tumour markers, serum markers and ultrastructural morphological markers in oral pre-cancer as well as cancer. The different research projects undertaken for this, encompass the following - estimation of disease risk in oral disorders including leukoplakia and submucous fibrosis, early identification of aggressive features in primary tumours (T1/T2N0), detection of occult metastatic disease in pathologically node negative tumours (pN0), prediction of disease spread, local recurrence, and survival of oral patients, indication of post- surgery radio/chemo resistance using stem cell associated molecules, selection of patients for neoadjuvant chemo-therapy (NACT) in locally advanced oral tumours. In addition to this, we have generated a statistical model-Nomogram for the prediction of neck node metastasis in pN0 patients. We have also successfully constructed in-vitro 3D co-culture models from human tongue tissues which could be useful in understanding multistep oral tumorigenesis process and to evaluate the efficacy of anticancer drugs.

We have studied keratin expression profile in human oral pre-cancer as well as cancer and some consistent patterns of keratin expression have emerged from these studies. Many of these alterations show a potential to be used as predictive markers for human oral cancer.
Our results showed aberrant expression of keratins 1, 8, 18 and aberrant non-expression of keratin 5 in oral leukoplakic and submucous fibrosis and it correlated with their histopathological grade. Similarly, in oral tumours it correlated with local recurrence, regional lymph node metastasis and poorer survival in patients with oral cancer. Findings suggest, loss and gain of keratins could serve as surrogate markers for the diagnosis of oral potentially malignant disorders and may also have prognostic value in patients with oral cancer.
Although vimentin is mesenchymal specific protein and it aberrantly expresses in carcinomas, we have first time showed its aberrant expression in oral premalignant disorder and its correlation with their histopathological grades, tumour invasion and metastasis.
With the aim of developing non-invasive tumour markers we have evaluated the prognostic value of soluble keratin and CD44 proteins. The levels of soluble CD44 and keratins K8, 18 and 19 (tissue polypeptide antigen-TPA) significantly correlated with the development of recurrence and survival indicating CD44 and TPA can be a useful and non-invasive assays for the prediction of disease recurrence and patient’s survival Further, we have evaluated prognostic value of stem cell associated molecules such as Oct4, CD44 and c-Myc independently as well as in different combinations in patients with oral SCC who had received post-surgery radio- and/or chemotherapy.

Ongoing Research Projects

  • Desmosomal adhesion junctions

    A study of desmosomal and hemidesmosomal adhesion junctions in neoplastic progress…

    Cell adhesion is of crucial importance in the maintenance of tissue integrity and… more

  • Serum CD44 levels

    Prognostic value of elevated post-surgery serum CD44 levels in oral squamous cell…

    More than 50% of oral cancer patients die as a result of uncontrolled loco-regional recu… more

  •  Nodal micrometasis

    Detection of micro-metastasis in lymph nodes of pathologically diagnosed node nega…

    The incidence of occult node metastasis is about 15-34% in oral cancer patients. Occult diseas… more

  • project1

    Evaluating biomarkers to predict response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in locally a…

    More than 2/3rd of oral cancer patients are diagnosed when they are in a locoregio… more

Lab Members



Office Contact

Dr. Sharada Suhas Sawant

KS-136A, Advance Centre for Treatment Research & Education in Cancer, Tata Memorial Centre, (ACTREC), Plot No. 1 & 2, Sector 22, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai-410210. Maharashtra India.+91 (022) 2740 5000/ 6873 5000 Extn-5134 Lab Website
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