JOURNAL ARTICLE

Overexpression of SIP1 and downregulation of E-cadherin predict delayed neck metastasis in stage I/II oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma after partial glossectomy

Koji Sakamoto, Yorihisa Imanishi, Toshiki Tomita, Masayuki Shimoda, Kaori Kameyama, Katsushi Shibata, Nobuya Sakai, Hiroyuki Ozawa, Seiji Shigetomi, Ryoichi Fujii, Masato Fujii, Kaoru Ogawa
Annals of Surgical Oncology 2012, 19 (2): 612-9
21913013

BACKGROUND: Patients with clinical stage I/II (T1-2N0M0) oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma (TSCC) usually undergo partial glossectomy alone. However, 14-48% of them develop delayed neck metastasis (DNM), which may lead to an unfavorable course. Recently epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been thought to play a crucial role in cancer metastasis. The present study aimed to examine the associations of EMT-involved molecular factors and clinicopathological factors with DNM in stage I/II TSCC.

METHODS: mRNA expression levels of E-cadherin and its transcriptional repressors (snail, SIP1, and twist) in 7 head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cell lines were evaluated by quantitative real-time PCR. Clinicopathological parameters and immunohistochemical expressions of E-cadherin and its repressors were examined in surgical specimens of 37 stage I/II TSCC patients who underwent partial glossectomy alone.

RESULTS: In HNSCC cells, E-cadherin expression was inversely correlated with SIP1 expression (P = 0.023). Univariate analysis of immunohistochemistry showed that overexpression of SIP1 and loss of E-cadherin were significantly correlated with DNM, although no inverse correlation was found between E-cadherin and its repressors. Multiple logistic regression analysis including clinicopathological and molecular factors revealed that overexpression of SIP1 (P = 0.005), loss of E-cadherin (P = 0.046), and vascular invasion (P = 0.024) were independently correlated with DNM.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that development of DNM in stage I/II TSCC is closely related to induction of EMT in primary tumor cells. Especially, SIP1 and E-cadherin are considered to be the possible markers for selecting patients at high risk of DNM.

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