Expression of CK19 is an independent predictor of negative outcome for patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue

Oncotarget. 2016 Nov 15;7(46):76151-76158. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.12691.


Objectives: To explore the prognostic role of CK19 expression in squamous cell carcinomas within a well-defined cohort of oral tongue cancer patients.

Methods: In our retrospective study, we investigated 129 patients with tongue cancer that had suitable material for inclusion in a tissue microarray (TMA). Where possible, samples were taken from central and peripheral regions of the tumor to generate a representative sample of the tumor. The expression level of CK19 was assessed by immunohistochemical staining.

Results: Expression of CK19 in squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue was identified as a negative predictor for overall survival (OS; p<0.000) and disease specific survival (DSS; p=0.001). No significant difference could be shown for disease free survival (DFS) between patients with positive and negative CK19 staining (p=.094).

Conclusion: This is the first description of the highly significant role of CK19 in a selective, organ specific head and neck cancer cohort. Our results are of special importance against the background that CK19 positive carcinomas revealed a significantly poorer prognosis and therefore emphasize its prognostic and possible diagnostic role in tongue cancer.

Keywords: Ki-67; cytokeratin 19 (CK19); head and neck cancer (HNC); tongue cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression*
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Keratin-19 / genetics*
  • Keratin-19 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Tongue Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Tongue Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Tongue Neoplasms / pathology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Keratin-19