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Open Access Research article

Expression of E-cadherin and β-catenin in basaloid and conventional squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity: are potential prognostic markers?

João Adolfo Costa Hanemann1*, Denise Tostes Oliveira2, Suely Nonogaki3, Inês Nobuko Nishimoto4, Marina Lara de Carli1, Gilles Landman5 and Luiz Paulo Kowalski4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinic and Surgery, School of Dentistry, Alfenas Federal University, 700. CEP 37130-000 Alfenas, MG, Brazil

2 Department of Stomatology-Area of Pathology, Bauru Dental School, São Paulo University, 17012-901 Bauru, São Paulo, Brazil

3 Pathology Center, Adolfo Lutz Institute, 01246-000 São Paulo, Brazil

4 Department of Head and Neck Surgery and Otorhinolaryngology, Cancer Hospital AC Camargo, 01509-010 São Paulo, Brazil

5 Department of Pathology, Cancer Hospital AC Camargo, 01509-010 São Paulo, Brazil

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:395  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-395

Published: 3 June 2014

Abstract

Background

Basaloid squamous cell carcinoma presents with a preference for the head and neck region, and shows a distinct aggressive behavior, with frequent local recurrences, regional and distant metastasis. The alterations in the cadherin-catenin complex are fundamental requirements for the metastasis process, and this is the first study to evaluate the immunostaining of E-cadherin and β-catenin in oral basaloid squamous cell carcinoma.

Methods

Seventeen cases of this tumor located exclusively in the mouth were compared to 26 cases of poorly differentiated squamous cell carcinoma and 28 cases of well to moderately differentiated squamous cell carcinoma matched by stage and tumor site. The immunostaining of E-cadherin and β-catenin were evaluated in the three groups and compared to their clinicopathological features and prognosis.

Results

For groups poorly differentiated squamous cell carcinoma and basaloid squamous cell carcinoma, reduction or absence of E-cadherin staining was observed in more than 80.0% of carcinomas, and it was statistically significant compared to well to moderately differentiated squamous cell carcinoma (p = .019). A strong expression of β-catenin was observed in 26.9% and 20.8% of well to moderately differentiated squamous cell carcinoma and poorly differentiated squamous cell carcinoma, respectively, and in 41.2% of basaloid squamous cell carcinoma. The 5-year and 10-year overall and disease-free survival rates demonstrated no significant differences among all three groups.

Conclusions

The clinical and biological behavior of three groups of the oral cavity tumors evaluated are similar. E-cadherin and β-catenin immunostaining showed no prognostic value for basaloid and conventional squamous cell carcinomas.

Keywords:
Carcinoma; Squamous Cell; Cadherins; Beta-Catenin; Prognosis; Immunohistochemistry