Differential tissue and subcellular expressionof ERM proteins in normal and malignant tissues: cytoplasmic ezrin expression has prognostic signficance for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Head Neck. 2006 Nov;28(11):1018-27. doi: 10.1002/hed.20435.


Background: Members of the ezrin-radixin-moesin (ERM) protein family regulate cellular shape, motility, and proliferation and potentially influence ability to metastasize. We investigated the correlation between ERM subcellular localization and survival in patients with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) METHODS: Tissue microarrays (TMAs) were constructed from paraffin-embedded tissue. TMA sections were evaluated for ERM protein expression immunohistochemically. The results were compared across clinical and histopathologic variables

Results: ERM staining results for 47 patients showed that cytoplasmic ERM expression was prevalent in tumors (>92%). Whereas ezrin and moesin also localized to the membrane, only willin was found in the nucleus of tumors. Multivariable Cox regression analysis demonstrated that strong cytoplasmic ezrin expression was independently associated with poorer survival (p = .04, hazard ratio 1.82)

Conclusions: Both level of expression and subcellular localization of ERM proteins may be important indicators of clinical outcome in SCC. This pilot study justifies the need for an expanded validation study of ERM proteins and clinical outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Laryngeal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Mucosa / metabolism
  • Mouth Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / mortality
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tissue Array Analysis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • FRMD6 protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • ezrin
  • moesin