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Am J Pathol. 2004 Jan;164(1):73-9.

Annexin A1 down-regulation in head and neck cancer is associated with epithelial differentiation status.

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  • 1Instituto Universitario de Oncologia del Principado de Asturias, Oviedo, Spain.


Annexin A1 (ANXA1) protein expression was evaluated by Western blot in a series of 32 head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) in a search for molecular alterations that could serve as useful diagnostic/prognostic markers. ANXA1 down-regulation was observed in 24 cases (75%) compared with patient-matched normal epithelium. In relation to clinicopathological variables, ANXA1 down-regulation was significantly associated with advanced T stages (P = 0.029), locoregional lymph node metastases (P = 0.038), advanced disease stage (P = 0.006), hypopharyngeal localization (P = 0.038), and poor histological differentiation (P = 0.005). ANXA1 expression was also analyzed by immunohistochemistry in paraffin-embedded sections from 22 of 32 HNSCCs and 8 premalignant lesions. All dysplastic tissues showed significantly reduced ANXA1 expression compared to a strong positive signal observed in adjacent normal epithelia (except basal and suprabasal cells). A close association was observed between ANXA1 expression and the histological grade in HNSCC. Well-differentiated tumors presented a positive ANXA1 signal in highly keratinized areas whereas moderately and poorly differentiated tumors exhibited very weak or negative staining. Our findings clearly identify ANXA1 as an effective differentiation marker for the histopathological grading of HNSCCs and for the detection of epithelial dysplasia.

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