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Head Neck. 2001 Sep;23(9):725-32.

Transforming growth factor beta1, urokinase-type plasminogen activator and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 mRNA expression in head and neck squamous carcinoma and normal adjacent mucosa.

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Laboratórios de Investigação Médica (LIM 24), Hospital das Clínicas, FMUSP, São Paulo, Brazil.



A balance between urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and its main inhibitor type-1 (PAI-1) appears to be important for cancer invasive behavior. Since uPA/PAI-1 system seems to be regulated by transforming growth factor beta1 (TGFbeta1) in different cell types, our aim was to investigate the relationship between the expression of the three genes and lymph node status in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) at specific sites.


uPA, PAI-1, and TGFbeta1 mRNAs were determined by Northern analysis in tumor, and paired normal mucosa samples were obtained from 91 operable HNSCC patients.


In oral cavity, excluding tongue, TGFbeta1, PAI-1, and uPA mRNAs values were consistently lower in the normal tissues than in tumors. In larynx tumors, TGFbeta1 expression was increased, but no statistically significant differences were found for uPA or PAI-1 mRNAs as compared with normal tissues. Tongue tumors overexpressed only uPA mRNA, and uPA levels showed significant parallel variations with TGFbeta1 and PAI-1 mRNAs mainly in pN+ tumors. In oral cavity tumors, an inverse correlation between TGFbeta1 and uPA was observed in pN0 subgroup, elevated uPA mRNA was counterbalanced by high PAI-1 mRNA TGFbeta1, and PAI-1 were not coordinately expressed. Correlations between the three markers were not found in larynx. Hypopharynx tumors, all staged as pN+, expressed the lowest TGFbeta1 mRNA mean values.


Combined information about TGFbeta1, uPA, and PAI-1 mRNAs may add some clues to the understanding of the pathophysiological role of uPA system in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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