Head and Neck Oncology

Research study

Cell & Molecular Oncology

Kim H, Lee JH, Kim JS, Kim KH, Kim KH, Sung MW, Kim JE, Jung YH. Expression of excision repair cross-complementation group 1 (ERCC1), ribonucleotide reductase M1 (RRM1) and class III beta-tubulin in head and neck carcinoma and its clinical significance. Head Neck Oncol 2014 Jun 10;6(2):16.


Background:Additional therapeutic options based on molecular tumor profiling have been increasingly tried in head and neck cancer (HNCa). This study explored biomarker expression profiles of HNCa with the goal of developing therapeutic strategies.

Materials and methods:Eighty three patients consisting of 74 cases of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and nine cases of undifferentiated carcinoma (UDC) were enrolled. Expression of ERCC1, TUBB3, and RRM1 which previously reported to be indicators of therapeutic responses in non-small cell lung cancer was investigated by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Human papilloma virus (HPV) status was examined by IHC for p16, in situ hybridization (ISH), and DNA chip analysis. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) was detected by ISH.

Results:HPV was detected in 27 of 74 SCC cases, most frequently in the oropharynx. EBV was detected in 11 cases including all 9 UDC cases. Expression of biomarkers was high throughout the primary location of HNCa, except for laryngeal SCC, which displayed low expression of ERCC1. High expression of ERCC1 was found in 64 of 70 cases of SCC, RRM1 in 56 of 70 cases of SCC, and TUBB3 in 37 of 71 cases of SCC. None of UDC expressed high levels of TUBB3. Also, high expression of TUBB3 was an independent predictor of better overall survival in SCC, and positivity of p16 was related to longer disease free survival and overall survival.

Conclusions:Unlike lung carcinoma, expression of ERCC1 or RRM1 did not correlate with clinical parameters or HPV status. However, p16 and TUBB3 might be useful predictive biomarkers in HNCa.

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