Objectives: To evaluate immunohistochemically the expression of GLUT-3 and GLUT-4 in oral epithelial dysplasia (OED) and the oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and assess possible involvement in the malignant transformation of oral lesions. Methods: Tissue samples of 15 cases of OSCC and 15 of OED were subjected to immunohistochemistry with anti-GLUT-3 and anti-GLUT-4 antibodies. Five fields of each case were analyzed, to provide percentages of positive cells at 400X magnification. Result: GLUT-3 and GLUT-4 were positive in 100% of the analyzed samples, the percentage immunolabeling for GLUT-3 ranging from 19% to 73% in the OED group and 10% to 89% in the OSCC group. Positive immunolabeling for GLUT-4 ranged from 15.2% to 79.9% in the OSCC group and 27.1% to 92.6% in the OED group. Statistical analysis with the Mann-Whitney test revealed that there was a higher expression of GLUT-4 in the OED group than in the OSCC group (p=0.04) without any significant difference in the GLUT-3 expression (p=0.852). Conclusion: GLUT-4 expression may indicate some role in oncogenic mechanisms which can determine a malignant phenotype. Thus, it is suggested that further studies on the role of GLUT-3 in oral carcinogenesis be conducted.
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