Expression of hormone receptors in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma
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Hormone receptors play an important role in many types of cancers. Alongside factors associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, hormonal receptors may impact the tumorigenesis of oropharyngeal cancer.
Materials and methods
This study consists of 199 consecutive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) patients diagnosed and treated with a curative intent. We examined androgen (AR), estrogen (ER; both alpha and beta), and progesterone receptor (PR) expressions using immunohistochemistry comparing tumor and patient characteristics.
AR was expressed in 16%, PR in 27% and ER-beta in 63% of the tumors. HPV- and p16-positive tumors expressed more AR and less PR than their negative counterparts. High PR expression was associated with poor disease-specific and locoregional recurrence-free survival.
AR, PR, and ER-beta are expressed in OPSCC, and AR and PR expressions are associated with HPV and p16 status. Furthermore, PR appears to have prognostic significance. This may allow us to investigate the role of anti-hormone receptors in the treatment of OPSCC.
KeywordsOropharynx Human papillomavirus (HPV) Androgen receptor Estrogen receptor Progesterone receptor
This work was supported by the Helsinki University Hospital Research Funds, the Sigrid Jusélius Foundation, the Otorhinolaryngology Research Foundation, Finnish Dental Association, Apollonia, and Libyan Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The project is part of a larger research project regarding oropharyngeal cancer at the Dept. of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (HUCH), and an institutional review board approval was obtained from the Research Ethics Committee of the Helsinki University Hospital (HUS). In addition, a hospital study permission was granted (Dnro179/13/03/02/2013). All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
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