Clinical significance of interleukin-6 and interleukin-6 receptor expressions in oral squamous cell carcinoma

Head Neck. 2002 Sep;24(9):850-8. doi: 10.1002/hed.10145.


Background: Recent studies showed that interleukin-6 (IL-6) played a role in tumor development. However, available information about the prognostic significance of IL-6 and IL-6 receptors (IL-6R) for oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is limited.

Methods: Eighty-six patients with OSCC were enrolled. Immunohistochemical staining was used to determine IL-6R expression and in-situ hybridization for IL-6 mRNA transcripts in surgical specimens. Clinicopathologic correlation was evaluated by chi-square test and survival by log rank test.

Results: Expression rates of IL-6R and IL-6 mRNA transcripts in tumor specimens were 73.3% and 54.7%, much higher than those in nontumor mucosa (p <.001). IL-6R overexpression was associated with larger tumors and more advanced histologic grade (p <.05). The presence of IL-6 mRNA transcripts was inversely correlated with distant metastasis, lymph node involvement, and second primary SCC (p <.05) and predicted better survival (p =.007).

Conclusions: IL-6-IL-6R coexpression was rather high in OSCC, and IL-6 mRNA transcript expression might influence patient survival. The biologic role of IL-6-IL-6R coexpression in OSCC needs additional investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology
  • Probability
  • Prognosis
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6 / metabolism*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Survival Analysis


  • Interleukin-6
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6