p16, Cyclin D1, and HIF-1α Predict Outcomes of Patients with Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treated with Definitive Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy

Int J Otolaryngol. 2012;2012:685951. doi: 10.1155/2012/685951. Epub 2012 Jul 24.


We evaluated a panel of 8 immunohistochemical biomarkers as predictors of clinical response to definitive intensity-modulated radiotherapy in patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC). 106 patients with OPSCC were treated to a total dose of 66-70 Gy and retrospectively analyzed for locoregional control (LRC), disease-free survival (DFS), and overall survival (OS). All tumors had p16 immunohistochemical staining, and 101 tumors also had epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) staining. 53% of the patients had sufficient archived pathologic specimens for incorporation into a tissue microarray for immunohistochemical analysis for cyclophilin B, cyclin D1, p21, hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), carbonic anhydrase, and major vault protein. Median followup was 27.2 months. 66% of the tumors were p16 positive, and 34% were p16 negative. On univariate analysis, the following correlations were statistically significant: p16 positive staining with higher LRC (P = 0.005) and longer DFS (P < 0.001); cyclin D1 positive staining with lower LRC (P = 0.033) and shorter DFS (P = 0.002); HIF-1α positive staining with shorter DFS (P = 0.039). On multivariate analysis, p16 was the only significant independent predictor of DFS (P = 0.023). After immunohistochemical examination of a panel of 8 biomarkers, our study could only verify p16 as an independent prognostic factor in OPSCC.