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Oncol Rep. 2011 Dec;26(6):1555-60. doi: 10.3892/or.2011.1419. Epub 2011 Aug 10.

Expression of urokinase-type plasminogen activator/urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor and maspin in oral squamous cell carcinoma: Association with mode of invasion and clinicopathological factors.

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  • 1Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Science, 13-1 Takaramachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-8641, Japan.


It is well documented that the binding of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) to its receptor (uPAR), which has been implicated in cancer invasion and metastasis, is regulated by several inhibitors such as maspin. In this study, we investigated the interrelationship between clinicopathologic findings and expression of uPA, uPAR and maspin in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) to elucidate the participation of maspin in the uPA/uPAR system in the malignant behavior of OSCC. Using immunohistochemical techniques to examine the expression levels of uPA, uPAR and maspin in 54 cases of OSCC, we also compared the clinicopathologic features of OSCC with the expression levels of each. Moreover, we examined the expression of uPA, uPAR and maspin in six cell lines derived from OSCC using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Western blotting. uPA and uPAR showed a positive correlation with the mode of cancer invasion; conversely maspin showed a negative correlation with the mode of invasion. Multivariate analysis revealed that only two factors (N-category and uPA+/uPAR+/maspin- expression pattern) were significant and independent variables with relative risks of 3.84 and 2.52, respectively. In particular, tumors exhibiting an expression pattern of uPA+/uPAR+/maspin- were highly malignant and were associated with the worst survival rate (5-year overall survival rate, 29.4%), while tumors with an expression pattern, uPA-/uPAR-/╬ťaspin+, showed the most favorable survival rate (5-year overall survival rate, 77.8%). In┬ávitro, lower expression of maspin was also noted in the cell lines derived from grade 4D OSCC, which exhibited a stronger invasive potential than the cells lines derived from the other grades of OSCC, while uPA and uPAR demonstrated an expression trend opposite to maspin. These results indicate that uPA, uPAR and maspin expression patterns may be useful markers for evaluating the clinical course or prognosis of OSCC patients.

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