Objective: To investigate the association between semaphorin 3A (SEMA 3A) and its receptor neuropilin 1 (NRP1) and the clinicopathologic characteristics of patients with tongue cancer.
Study design: Forty-three tongue squamous cell carcinoma specimens were included. Immunohistochemical staining of SEMA3A and NRP1 was performed on 15 normal tongue epithelium specimens and the 43 tumour specimens. Immunoreactivity was evaluated based on the staining intensity and distribution score. Statistical analyses were performed using Chi-squared and Spearman tests and Kaplan-Meier analysis.
Results: SEMA3A was significantly down-regulated in tongue cancer compared with normal tongue (P=0.025), while NRP1 was over-expressed in tumours (P<0.001). SEMA3A expression inversely correlated with nodal metastasis (P=0.017). NRP1 expression did not correlate with any clinicopathological characteristics. Higher SEMA3A expression strongly predicted longer survival (P=0.005). Scores for the NRP1/SEMA3A ratio of ≥1 predicted shorter survival (P=0.045).
Conclusions: Aberrant expression of SEMA3A and its receptor NRP1 might be involved in the development of tongue cancer and might be useful prognostic markers in this tumour type.