Tumor Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 5153–5164 | Cite as

Quantitative measurement of iNOS expression in melanoma, nasopharyngeal, colorectal, and breast tumors of Tunisian patients: comparative study and clinical significance

  • Emna Dabbeche-Bouricha
  • Nadia Hadiji-Abbes
  • Rania Abdelmaksoud-Damak
  • Nesrine Alaya
  • Wajdi Ayadi
  • Slim Charfi
  • Abdelmajid Khabir
  • Tahia Sellami-Boudawara
  • Raja Mokdad-Gargouri
Original Article


Chronic inflammation increases the risk of development of human malignancies. iNOS is an enzyme dominantly expressed during inflammatory reactions and seems to play a critical role in tumorigenesis. Our aim was to assess the iNOS expression in four types of human tumors: breast, colorectal, nasopharyngeal, and melanoma, of Tunisian patients. The level of iNOS was measured by RT-QPCR in tumor specimens. We showed that the expression of iNOS was higher in breast compared to colorectal and nasopharyngeal tumors, whereas in melanoma, the level of iNOS expression was low. Significant associations were found when comparing the iNOS expression in cancers pairs such as melanoma versus colorectal (p < 0.0001), colorectal versus nasopharyngeal (p = 0.0072), and melanoma versus breast (p < 0.0001). Furthermore, iNOS expression correlated with the Breslow thickness, Clark level, and histological subtype in melanoma, while in nasopharyngeal carcinoma, significant association was seen with age at diagnosis, TNM, metastasis, response to treatment, and expression of COX-2. Furthermore, the expression of iNOS correlated with tumor size, TNM, tumor location, and histological type in colorectal cancer, and with tumor size, tumor stage, SBR grade, and triple negative cases in breast cancer. On the other hand, immunohistochemistry analysis shows that the expression of iNOS is observed in the stroma and tumor cells as well. Overall, our results highlight that iNOS is a reliable marker for advanced stage and aggressive behavior for the four types of cancer and might be a potential promising therapeutic target.


iNOS Expression levels Melanoma Nasopharyngeal carcinoma Colorectal cancer Breast cancer 



This work was supported by a grant of the “Tunisian Ministry of High Education and Scientific Research.” We are grateful to technicians at CHU Habib Bourguiba at Sfax-Tunisia for assistance, and we thank Henri-Jean Garchon for his precious support and the laboratory of Inserm U1173 for providing us with molecular biology reagents.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emna Dabbeche-Bouricha
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Nadia Hadiji-Abbes
    • 1
  • Rania Abdelmaksoud-Damak
    • 1
  • Nesrine Alaya
    • 1
  • Wajdi Ayadi
    • 1
  • Slim Charfi
    • 2
  • Abdelmajid Khabir
    • 2
  • Tahia Sellami-Boudawara
    • 2
  • Raja Mokdad-Gargouri
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Biomass Valorisation and Production of Eukaryotic Proteins Center of Biotechnology of SfaxUniversity of SfaxSfaxTunisia
  2. 2.Department of Anatomo-pathologyCentre Hospitalo-Universitaire Habib BourguibaSfaxTunisia
  3. 3.Inserm U1016, CNRS UMR8104Institut Cochin and University Paris DescartesParisFrance
  4. 4.Inserm U1173 and University of Versailles Saint-QuentinMontigny-le-BretonneuxFrance

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