, Volume 448, Issue 6, pp 768-775
Date: 13 Apr 2006

Endoglin (CD105) as a prognostic factor in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

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Endoglin (CD105) is a proliferation-associated protein abundantly expressed in angiogenic endothelial cells. Recent studies revealed that CD105 is intensively expressed in tumor vasculature, whereas intratumoral microvessel density (MVD) determined with the use of antibodies to CD105 has been found to be an important prognostic indicator for the outcome in a number of malignancies. In the current study, we investigated endoglin expression and evaluated MVD in 108 patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Endoglin was intensively expressed in intratumoral blood vessels, whilst lymphatics were rarely positive for CD105. High microvessel density was associated with a more aggressive tumor phenotype, including advanced clinical stage (p=0.008) and the presence of lymph node metastasis at the time of diagnosis (p=0.02). When microvessel counts were assessed for their prognostic values (high vs low MVD), there was a statistically significant difference in the overall survival among patients with tumors of the oral cavity and larynx (p<0.001) and in the disease-free survival among patients with tumors of the lower lip (p=0.01). The prognostic impact of microvessel density was not dependent on clinical stage or lymph node status. The results of the current study suggest that CD105 is a promising target for tumor imaging and prognosis.