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Br J Cancer. 2003 Dec 15;89(12):2244-8.

Survivin expression in oral squamous cell carcinoma.

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Institute of Dental Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ancona, Ancona, Italy.


A series of 110 cases of oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) together with six lymph node and one distant metastatic lesions was analysed for expression of survivin, a recent apoptosis inhibitor, by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. In total, 91 cases (82.7%) of carcinoma and all metastasis (seven cases, 100%) were positive for survivin expression, with weighted survivin scores ranging from 1 to 4. In contrast, normal oral epithelium did not express survivin. There was no significant correlation between survivin expression and age, sex, tumour size, the presence of lymph node and distant metastases. Survivin expression was increased in poorly differentiated tumours, even if differences were not statistically significant. In contrast, when analysed for prognostic significance, patients with low survivin expression had statistically significant better survival rates than the group with high survivin expression (P<0.05). These data suggest that survivin expression may identify cases of oral SCC with more aggressive and invasive phenotype.

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