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Br J Cancer. 2003 Aug 18;89(4):681-6.

Prognostic significance of EGFR and Her-2 in oral cavity cancer in betel quid prevalent area cancer prognosis.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Section of Head and Neck Surgery, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital,Taoyuan, Taiwan.


Although several studies have found overexpression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) proteins EGFR and Her-2 in head and neck cancers, the clinical relevance of the finding varies. We examined the expression and clinical association of these molecules with oral squamous cell carcinoma in an area where betel chewing is prevalent. EGFR and Her-2 proteins were measured in 59 paired (grossly normal and cancer) tissues by an enzyme immunoassy method. The cutoff value for gene overexpression was defined as the level of mean expression in normal tissue plus two s.d. A total of 59% of the patients consumed alcohol, 90% smoked tobacco, and 90% chewed betel quid. Of the patients assayed, 34 (58%) and 24 (41%) had EGFR and Her-2 overexpression, with average 3.5- and 1.5-fold elevations. EGFR overexpression has been shown to be statistically associated with T stage, N stage, overall TMN stage, primary tumour depth, lymph node extra-capsular spread, and poor survival. Her-2 overexpression, however, did not demonstrate a similar association with clinicopathological parameters or therapeutic outcome. On multivariant analysis, EGFR overexpression (P=0.041) and N stage (P=0.024) were the only independent factors for overall survival. These results indicate that the molecular targeting therapy to EGFR may be a treatment for oral cavity cancer in the betel quid-chewing prevalent area.

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