Centromere protein H is a novel prognostic marker for nasopharyngeal carcinoma progression and overall patient survival

Wen-Ting Liao, Li-Bing Song, Hui-Zhong Zhang, Xing Zhang, Ling Zhang, Wan-Li Liu, Yan Feng, Bao-Hong Guo, Hai-Qiang Mai, Su-Mei Cao, Man-Zhi Li, Hai-De Qin, Yi-Xin Zeng, Mu-Sheng Zeng
Clinical Cancer Research 2007 January 15, 13 (2): 508-14

PURPOSE: The aim of the present study was to analyze the expression of Centromere protein H (CENP-H), one of the fundamental components of the human active kinetochore, in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and to correlate it with clinicopathologic data, including patient survival.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Using reverse transcription-PCR and Western blot, we detected the expression of CENP-H in normal nasopharyngeal epithelial cells, immortalized nasopharyngeal epithelial cell lines, and NPC cell lines. Using immunohistochemistry, we analyzed CENP-H protein expression in 160 clinicopathologically characterized NPC cases. Statistical analyses were applied to test for prognostic and diagnostic associations.

RESULTS: Reverse transcription-PCR and Western blot showed that the expression level of CENP-H was higher in NPC cell lines and in immortalized nasopharyngeal epithelial cells than in the normal nasopharyngeal epithelial cell line at both transcriptional and translational levels. By immunohistochemical analysis, we found that 76 of 160 (47.5%) paraffin-embedded archival NPC biopsies showed high expression of CENP-H. Statistical analysis showed that there was a significant difference of CENP-H expression in patients categorized according to clinical stage (P = 0.024) and T classification (P = 0.027). Patients with higher CENP-H expression had shorter overall survival time, whereas patients with lower CENP-H expression had better survival. A prognostic value of CENP-H was also found of the subgroup of N(0)-N(1) tumor classification. Multivariate analysis showed that CENP-H expression was an independent prognostic indicator for patient's survival.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that CENP-H protein is a valuable marker of NPC progression. High CENP-H expression is associated with poor overall survival in NPC patients.

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