Urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), tissue factor (TF) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR): tumor expression patterns and prognostic value in oral cancer

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Anders Christensen, Katalin Kiss, Giedrius Lelkaitis, Karina Juhl, Morten Persson, Birgitte Wittenborg Charabi, Jann Mortensen, Julie Lyng Forman, Anne Lyngholm Sørensen, David Hebbelstrup Jensen, Andreas Kjaer, Christian von Buchwald

Background: Tumor-specific biomarkers are a prerequisite for the development of targeted imaging and therapy in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). urokinase-type Plasminogen Activator Receptor (uPAR), Tissue Factor (TF) and Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) are three biomarkers that exhibit enhanced expression in many types of cancers, and have been investigated as potential biomarkers for targeted strategies and prognostication. The aim of the study was to investigate the expression patterns of uPAR, TF and EGFR and their potential prognostic value in OSCC. Methods: Immunohistochemical expression of uPAR, TF and EGFR in tumor resection specimens from 191 patients with primary OSCC was analyzed. Overall (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) was calculated. Associations between biomarker expression, clinicopathological factors and patient survival was analyzed using the Cox proportional hazards model for univariate and multivariate analysis, log rank and Kaplan-Meier statistics. Results: uPAR and TF exhibited a highly tumor-specific expression pattern while EGFR also showed expression in normal tissues outside the tumor compartment. The overall positive expression rate of uPAR, TF and EGFR was 95%, 58% and 98%, respectively. High uPAR expression across the entire cohort was negatively associated with OS (p=0.031, HR=1.595 (95%CI 1.044-2.439)) in univariate analysis. The 5-year OS for high and low uPAR expression was 39% and 56%, respectively. The expression of TF and EGFR was not associated with survival outcome. Conclusions: This study may suggest that uPAR and TF could potentially be attractive targets for molecular imaging and therapy in OSCC due to high positive expression rates and tumor-specific expression patterns. High uPAR expression was significantly associated with a reduced survival. uPAR seems to be a prognostic biomarker in oral cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number572
JournalBMC Cancer
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • EGFR, Immunohistochemistry, Margins, Molecular imaging, Oral cancer, Oral squamous cell carcinoma, Prognosis, Tissue factor, UPAR

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