Background: Prognostic factors in predicting outcomes in patients with head and neck squamous-cell carcinoma (HNSCC) are limited to the clinical–pathological parameters, including lymph node metastasis, location, grade and stage of the disease.
Aim: To determine whether the expression of these proteins has a value in predicting patient outcome.
Methods: Ezrin, maspin and nm23-H1 immunohistochemistry in tissue samples of 120 patients with HNSCC were evaluated using the microarray technique.
Results: In determining the association among each of the three proteins and the clinical–pathological parameters, low maspin expression was the only one found to be significantly associated with high tumour grade (p = 0.007); all others showed no significant associations. In univariate analysis, patients with tumours expressing high ezrin had a shorter disease-free survival (DFS) of 51% than those with low ezrin expression (DFS 84%; p = 0.08). In multivariate analysis, tumours with the combination of loss of maspin and low histological grade had longer DFS (83%) compared with those with high maspin and high histological grade (DFS 42%; p = 0.08).
Conclusion: Our study is the first to determine the value of ezrin and maspin in HNSCC in a large series of patients with long follow-up. Ezrin and maspin seem to have a potential prognostic value in patients with HNSCC but results should be confirmed with further studies.
- DFS, disease-free survival
- HNSCC, head and neck squamous-cell carcinoma
- IHC, immunohistochemical analysis
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↵* Currently, Dr P Mhawech-Fauceglia is at the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York, USA
Published Online First 5 July 2006
Competing interests: None declared.