, Volume 138, Issue 8, pp 1299-1310,
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Date: 03 Apr 2012

Association of cytokeratin 17 expression with differentiation in oral squamous cell carcinoma

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study was to confirm the expression profile of cytokeratin (CK)17 in comparison with that of CK13 in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and leukoplakia and to clarify an association of CK17 with the OSCC differentiation.

Materials

The expression of CK17 and CK13 was immunohistochemically examined in 105 patients with OSCC and 108 patients with leukoplakia. A correlation of CK expression with clinicopathological variables was carried out. The over-expression levels of CK17 mRNA were analyzed by real-time RT-PCR in 5 OSCC cell lines (HSC-2, HSC-3, SAS, SQUU-A, SQUU-B).

Results

CK17 and CK13 were detected in 101 (96.2 %) and three (2.9 %) of the 105 OSCCs, respectively. CK17 was significantly expressed in well-differentiated OSCC compared to moderately/poorly differentiated OSCC (p < 0.01). As detected in 19 of the 34 dysplastic leukoplakias (55.9 %) and 36 of the 74 hyperplastic leukoplakias (48.6 %), CK17 was significantly expressed in dysplastic leukoplakias (p < 0.01). As detected in 11 of the 34 dysplastic (32.4 %) and 52 of the 74 hyperplastic leukoplakias (70.3 %), CK13 was significantly expressed in hyperplastic leukoplakias (p < 0.01). The relative expression of CK17 mRNA in HSC-2 was significantly higher than in HSC-3 and SAS (p < 0.05). Moreover, the relative expression of CK17 mRNA in SQUU-A was significantly higher than in SQUU-B (p < 0.05).

Conclusion

CK17 expression could be associated with the differentiation and the malignancy of OSCC. A combination pattern of CK17/CK13 might be a suitable marker of malignant transformation.