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Acta Odontol Latinoam. 2002;15(1-2):29-37.

Furin expression in squamous cell carcinomas of the oral cavity and other sites evaluated by tissue microarray technology.

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Department of Pathology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Furin is a proprotein convertase that activates many cancer development-related substrates such as growth factors, growth factor-receptors, adhesion molecules, and matrix degrading enzymes. Furin expression was studied in sections from tissue microarrays (TMA) and conventional paraffin blocks in a collection of squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) from three different sites. A total of 118 SCCs from the oral cavity, lung and esophagus as well as 34 precursor lesions (intraepithelial neoplasia) from the oral and bronchial mucosae were studied by immunohistochemistry. Furin expression was notably higher in most precursor lesions than in normal epithelia. Tumors from either the TMAs or the conventional blocks showed significant differences when compared to the mostly negative normal epithelia. High levels of furin expression were observed in approximately 50% SCCs of three different sites as well as in precursor lesions of the oral and bronchial mucosae. In addition another 30% showed low furin expression that was localized in all tumor cells including those in a basaloid position. Normal epithelia sometimes showed low level expression but the normal basal cells were always negative. These results show that furin is up-regulated in SCCs from three different organs and validates its use as a tumor marker in both invasive and pre-invasive neoplasia.

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