Prognostic significance of head-and-neck cancer biomarkers previously discovered and identified using iTRAQ-labeling and multidimensional liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry

J Proteome Res. 2008 May;7(5):2078-87. doi: 10.1021/pr7007797. Epub 2008 Apr 12.


Diagnostic oncoproteomics is an emerging field; at present, studies on evaluation of prognostic utility of potential biomarkers identified using proteomic techniques are limited. Analysis with isobaric mass tags (iTRAQ) by multidimensional liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to identify proteins that are differentially expressed in human head-and-neck/oral squamous cell carcinomas (HNOSCCs) versus noncancerous head-and-neck tissues has led to the discovery, identification, and verification of consistently increased expression of a panel of proteins, including stratifin (14-3-3sigma) and YWHAZ (14-3-3zeta), that may serve as potential cancer biomarkers. Herein, we describe the prognostic utility of these two candidate biomarkers for head-and-neck/oral squamous cell carcinoma (HNOSCC). To determine the clinical significance of stratifin and YWHAZ in head-and-neck tumorigenesis, the expressions of these two proteins were analyzed in HNOSCCs (51 cases) and nonmalignant tissues (39 cases) using immunohistochemistry. Significant increase in stratifin expression was observed in the HNOSCCs as compared to the nonmalignant mucosa [p=0.003, Odd's Ratio (OR)=3.8, 95% CI=1.6-9.2]. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis reveals correlation of stratifin overexpression with reduced disease-free survival of HNOSCC patients (p=0.06). The most intriguing finding is the significant decrease in median disease-free survival (13 months) in HNOSCC patients showing overexpression of both stratifin and YWHAZ proteins, as compared to patients that did not show overexpression of these proteins (median disease-free survival=38 months, p=0.019), underscoring their utility as adverse prognosticators for HNOSCCs. Co-immunoprecipitation assays show the formation of stratifin-YWHAZ heterodimers in HNOSCC cells and tissue samples, and interactions with NFkappaB, beta-catenin, and Bcl-2 proteins. These results suggest the involvement of these proteins in the development of head-and-neck cancer and their association with adverse disease outcome.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 14-3-3 Proteins / genetics
  • 14-3-3 Proteins / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Exonucleases / genetics
  • Exonucleases / metabolism
  • Exoribonucleases
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prognosis


  • 14-3-3 Proteins
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Exonucleases
  • Exoribonucleases
  • SFN protein, human