Background: Tenascin-C (Tn-C) is an extracellular matrix protein with growth-, invasion- and angiogenesis-promoting activities. It is up-regulated in tumorigenesis and has been suggested to correlate with prognosis in various carcinomas, but its significance in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck remains unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine the prognostic significance of Tn-C expression in oral and pharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas.
Patients and methods: Tn-C expression was determined by immunohistochemistry in 65 consecutive tumors from patients with primary oral and pharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. Based on staining intensity, both the stroma and invasion border were separately classified into two groups and the results correlated with overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS).
Results: The tumor stroma showed strong Tn-C expression in 56 (86%) samples, and weak Tn-C expression in 9 (14%). At the invasion border, Tn-C expression was strong in 38 (58%) samples and weak in 27 (42%). Tn-C expression was not a statistically significant predictor of survival and there was no correlation between Tn-C expression and tumor or patient characteristics.
Conclusion: Tn-C protein was overexpressed in the majority of our oral and pharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma samples. The presence of TnC did not appear to predict for OS or DFS.