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Bmi1 expression in oral lichen planus and the risk of progression to oral squamous cell carcinoma

Lihua Ma, Hao Wang, Hui Yao, Laikuan Zhu, Wei Liu, Zengtong Zhou
Annals of Diagnostic Pathology 2013, 17 (4): 327-30
Oral lichen planus (OLP) is a potentially malignant disorder associated with an increased risk of progression to oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). The objective of this study was to determine protein expression of cancer stem cell factor Bmi1 in a longitudinal series of patients with OLP and evaluate the correlation between Bmi1 expression and the risk of progression to OSCC. In a retrospective study, Bmi1 expression was determined using immunohistochemistry in samples from 96 patients with OLP who received a mean follow-up of 54 months, including patients who did not progress to OSCC (n=87) and patients who had progressed to OSCC (n=9). Analysis of 10 cases of normal oral mucosa and 6 cases of postmalignant OSCC form previously diagnosed OLP was also performed. The results showed that Bmi1 expression was observed in 32 (36.8%) of 87 cases of nonprogressing OLP and in 8 (88.9%) of 9 cases of progressing OLP. Bmi1 was not expressed in normal oral mucosa, but it was positively expressed in the 6 (100%) cases of OSCC. Multivariate analysis revealed that the risk of malignant progression in the patients with Bmi1-positive expression was significantly higher than those with Bmi1 negativity (odds ratio, 20.75; 95% confidence interval, 2.21-194.57; P=.008). Collectively, Bmi1 expression was significantly associated with malignant transformation in a large series of patients with OLP who received a longitudinal observation. Our findings suggested that Bmi1 may serve as a useful marker for the identification of a high risk of malignant progression of OLP.


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