Cytoplasmic ezrin and moesin correlate with poor survival in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Head Neck Pathol. 2012 Jun;6(2):232-43. doi: 10.1007/s12105-011-0328-1. Epub 2012 Jan 7.


Members of the 4.1 superfamily of proteins, including ezrin, moesin, merlin, and willin regulate many normal physiologic processes such as cellular shape, motility, and proliferation. In addition, they contribute both to tumor development and tumor progression. We reported previously that strong cytoplasmic ezrin expression was independently associated with poorer patient survival. One hundred and thirty-one histologically confirmed primary head and neck squamous cell carcinomas were examined prospectively for cancer progression and survival at a large health care center in the Bronx, NY, USA. Immunohistochemical analysis of ezrin, moesin, merlin, and willin expression in tissue microarray samples of primary head and neck squamous cell carcinoma revealed a significant association of increased cytoplasmic ezrin with poor cancer survival. Global RNA analyses suggest that cancers with high cytoplasmic ezrin have a more invasive phenotype. This study supports our previous findings associating cytoplasmic ezrin with more aggressive behavior and poorer outcome and indicates the need for a multi-institutional study to validate the use of cytoplasmic ezrin as a biomarker for treatment planning in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

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 / analysis*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / analysis*
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Microfilament Proteins / analysis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Tissue Array Analysis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • ezrin
  • moesin