Cytoplasmic accumulation of alpha-catenin is associated with aggressive features in laryngeal squamous-cell carcinoma

Int J Cancer. 1998 Oct 23;79(5):546-50. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0215(19981023)79:5<546::aid-ijc18>;2-#.


Aberrations in the function of alpha-catenin (alpha-cat), the anchoring protein of E-cadherin, are believed to cause dysfunction of the cadherin-catenin complex, leading to disturbed cell-cell adhesion. It has been suggested that expression of alpha-cat in human tumours might be a better indicator of aggressive phenotype than expression of E-cadherin. The value of alpha-cat as a prognostic marker in laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC) is unclear. To determine the potential prognostic significance of alpha-cat, paraffin-embedded samples from 159 patients with invasive carcinoma left in the section and with long-term follow-up were evaluated immuno-histochemically for alpha-cat expression, and the results were related to histopathological grade, tumour stage and survival. Two patterns of staining were observed: pure membranous staining (57%) and membranous staining with cytoplasmic involvement (43%). Cytoplasmic involvement of alpha-cat was associated with dedifferentiation, advanced tumour stage and nodal status. In addition, supra-glottic tumours showed more often cytoplasmic involvement of alpha-cat than glottic tumours. Patients with cytoplasmic involvement appeared to have a trend towards poor overall survival, though without statistical significance. These results suggest that cytoplasmic involvement of alpha-cat is associated with aggressive behaviour and metastatic phenotype of LSCC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / analysis
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Tissue Embedding
  • alpha Catenin


  • CTNNA1 protein, human
  • Cadherins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • alpha Catenin