E-cadherin loss and Delta Np73L expression in oral squamous cell carcinomas showing aggressive behavior

Head Neck. 2008 Nov;30(11):1475-82. doi: 10.1002/hed.20908.


Background: This article sought to investigate the existence of parameters useful for predicting lymph node metastases in cases of surgically resected oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCCs).

Methods: Fifty-eight cases were studied for E-cadherin and the truncated dominant-negative isoform of p63 (Delta Np63) with immunohistochemistry. In addition, the p63 gene expression profile was evaluated by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to disclose the presence of the truncated variant Delta Np73L.

Results: E-cadherin expression was the most powerful parameter related to the presence of lymph node metastases at presentation. Twenty-four of 38 (63%) cases showing low E-cadherin expression had lymph node metastases at presentation compared with 5 of 20 (25%) (p <.01) cases showing high E-cadherin expression. The high predictive value was also maintained when a low expression of E-cadherin was associated with immunohistochemical high expression of DeltaNp63. The association between low E-cadherin expression and Delta Np73L (as seen with reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction) was highly predictive for developing lymph node metastases, especially in small tumors (T1\T2). When this association occurred, metastases developed in 62.5% of cases during the follow-up compared with 16.1% in those which did not show low E-cadherin expression and presence of Delta Np73L.

Conclusion: This study shows that low E-cadherin expression is useful for predicting lymph node metastases in cases of OSCC. The predictive value is enhanced when low E-cadherin positivity is associated with DeltaNp63 and Delta Np73L expression.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Cadherins / analysis*
  • Cadherins / deficiency*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / secondary
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology
  • Mouth Neoplasms / secondary
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Trans-Activators / analysis*
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / analysis*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cadherins
  • TP63 protein, human
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins