Background: Moesin, a member of ERM (ezrin/radixin/moesin) family, links actin filaments of cell surface structure to the cell membrane. The purpose of the study is to assess the shifts in cellular distribution of moesin in normal oral epithelium, oral epithelial dysplasia (OED), verrucous carcinoma (VC), and oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC).
Methods: The expression of moesin was evaluated immunohistochemically in paraffin-embedded tissues of 59 specimens of OSCC, 35 specimens of OED, 17 specimens of VC, and five specimens of normal oral epithelium.
Results: In the normal oral epithelia, all specimens showed a pattern of membranous expression against the anti-moesin antibody in the basal layer cells. In the OED specimens, moesin was dominantly expressed in the cell membrane except for the cornified layer. In VC and OSCC specimens, almost the whole of the carcinoma cells were stained with anti-moesin antibody. However, in OSCC samples, moesin was markedly expressed increasingly in the cytoplasm and decreasingly in the cell membrane, as compared with OED and VC. In addition, there was a significant correlation between the pattern of moesin expression and tumor differentiation in OSCC.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that it is useful to detect the moesin expression as adjunct to screening mucosal lesions in the oral cavity.