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Expression of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF/CCN2) in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma


Background: Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF/CCN2), a multifunctional protein that regulates cell growth and differentiation, is known to play an important role in tumourigenesis of several human malignancies. However, CCN2 expression or its potential role in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is not known, even though HNSCC is one of the most common cancers worldwide.

Aims: To investigate CCN2 expression in primary HNSCC and to correlate CCN2 mRNA expression level with one of its upstream regulators, transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1).

Methods: Tissue specimens of HNSCC (n = 22) and normal oral mucosa (n = 8) were analysed by real-time, quantitative PCR assays for CCN2 and TGF-β1 expression. Tissue localisation of CCN2 protein was analysed by immunohistochemistry.

Results: Primary HNSCC expressed high levels of CCN2 mRNA. CCN2 protein was localised in stromal fibroblasts, tumour and vascular endothelial cells.

Conclusions: Results show that CCN2 mRNA and protein are overexpressed in HNSCC, suggesting that CCN2 expression should be further evaluated for a possible role in HNSCC growth and progression.

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