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Keywords:

  • oral squamous cell carcinoma;
  • head and neck cancer;
  • caldesmon;
  • metastasis;
  • tumor marker

BACKGROUND

A previous comparative tissue proteomics study by the authors of the current study led to the identification of caldesmon (CaD) as one of the proteins associated with cervical metastasis of oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). In the current investigation, the authors focused on the potential functions of CaD in patients with OSCC.

METHODS

CaD expression was examined in tissue samples from 155 patients using immunohistochemical analysis. The expression of CaD variants was determined by Western blot analysis and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. In addition, the specific effects of CaD gene overexpression and silence were determined in OSCC cell lines.

RESULTS

CaD expression was found to be significantly higher in tumor cells from metastatic lymph nodes compared with primary tumor cells, and was nearly absent in normal oral epithelia. Higher CaD expression was found to be correlated with positive N classification, poor differentiation, perineural invasion, and tumor depth (P = .001, P = .029, P = .001, and P = .031, respectively). In survival analyses, OSCC patients with higher CaD expression were found to have poorer prognosis with regard to disease-specific survival and disease-free survival (P = .003 and P = .014, respectively). Multivariate analyses further indicated that higher CaD expression was an independent predictor of disease-specific survival (P = .043). Serum CaD levels were found to be significantly higher in patients with OSCC, but this finding was not associated with clinicopathological manifestations. Data obtained from in vitro suppression, rescue, and overexpression of CaD in OEC-M1 cells indicated that CaD promotes migration and invasive processes in OSCC cells.

CONCLUSIONS

The findings of the current study collectively suggest that the low-molecular-weight CaD expression in OSCC tumors is associated with tumor metastasis and patient survival. Cancer 2013;119:4003–4011. © 2013 American Cancer Society.