Background: The expression and function of androgen receptors (AR) and estrogen receptor alpha (ER-ɑ) in laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC) have remained controversial for decades. Prolactin receptor (PRLR) is a sex-related hormone, that has been rarely documented in terms of expression or function compared with data on other hormone receptors in laryngeal carcinoma.
Methods: This study reports on immunohistochemical and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis of tumour tissue and adjacent normal tissue in 96 patients with LSCC (82 males and 14 females). The expression levels of the receptors were related to clinicopathologic parameters and survival data.
Results: At both protein and mRNA levels, the expression level of AR, ER-ɑ, and PRLR was much higher in LSCC than in adjacent normal tissues (p < .05). Among them, higher PRLR expression in tumour tissues tended to have a significantly poorer survival rate (p = .03) for patients with LSCC. Furthermore, higher expression of ER-ɑ in tumours was correlated with higher expression level of PRLR (r = .823, p = .03).
Conclusion: The findings of this study indicate that the sex-related hormone receptors play an important role in the development of LSCC. The PRLR represents a novel prognosticator, because of its negative effect on survival and its interaction with ER-ɑ.
Keywords: Laryngeal carcinoma; androgen receptor; estrogen receptor alpha; overall survival; prolactin receptor.