Parathyroid hormone-related protein serves as a prognostic indicator in oral squamous cell carcinoma

J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2014 Dec 18;33(1):100. doi: 10.1186/s13046-014-0100-y.


Background: In our previous study, parathyroid hormone-like hormone (PTHLH) which encodes parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) was revealed to be up-regulated in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) compared with paired apparently normal surgical margins using microarray method. However, the function and prognostic indicators of PTHLH/PTHrP in OSCC remain obscure.

Methods: The mRNA levels of PTHLH and its protein levels were investigated in 9 OSCC cell lines and in 36 paired OSCC specimens by real-time PCR and western blotting. The biological function of PTHLH/PTHrP was investigated using small interfering RNA (siRNA) in 3 OSCC cell lines, and immunohistochemistry was used to estimate the prognostic value of PTHrP in 101 patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), including OSCC and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. Cell cycle was tested by flow cytometry and cell cycle related genes were investigated by western blotting and immunocytochemistry assay.

Results: This study showed that the mRNA and protein levels of PTHLH in 9 OSCC cell lines were much higher than that in normal epithelial cells (P < 0.0001). In 36 paired OSCC tissues, PTHLH mRNA expressions were found higher in 32 OSCC tissues than that of paired apparently normal surgical margins (P = 0.0001). The results revealed that the down-regulation of PTHLH/PTHrP by siRNAs could reduce cell proliferation and inhibit plate and soft agar colony formation as well as affect the cell cycle of OSCC cells. The key proteins related to the cell cycle were changed by anti-PTHLH siRNA. The results showed that cyclin D1 and CDK4 expressions were significantly reduced in the cells transfected with anti-PTHLH siRNA. On the other hand, the expression of p21 was increased. The results also showed that high PTHrP level was associated with poor pathologic differentiation (P = 0.0001) and poor prognosis (P = 0.0003) in patients with HNSCC.

Conclusions: This study suggests that PTHLH/PTHrP is up-regulated in OSCCs. Therefore, PTHLH/PTHrP could play a role in the pathogenesis of OSCC by affecting cell proliferation and cell cycle, and the protein levels of PTHrP might serve as a prognostic indicator for evaluating patients with HNSCCs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / genetics
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / mortality
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Neoplasms / genetics
  • Mouth Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / mortality
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein / genetics
  • Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein / metabolism*
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck
  • Time Factors
  • Transfection


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • PTHLH protein, human
  • Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein
  • RNA, Messenger