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Br J Cancer. 2006 Mar 13;94(5):692-7.

Clinicopathological significance of mitochondrial D-Loop mutations in head and neck carcinoma.

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INSERM U490, Université René Descartes, 45 rue des Saints-Pères, F-75006 Paris, France.


Mitochondrial DNA mutations have been reported in several types of tumours, including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). The noncoding region of the Displacement-Loop (D-Loop) has emerged as a mutational hotspot and we recently found that they were associated with prognosis and response to 5 fluorouracil (5FU) in colon cancers. In order to evaluate the frequence of D-Loop mutations in a large series of HNSCC and establish correlations with clinicopathologic parameters, we sequenced the D-Loop of 109 HNSCC before a treatment by neoadjuvant 5FU-cisplatin-based chemotherapy and surgery. Then, we correlated these mutations with prognosis and response to chemotherapy. A D-Loop mutation was identified in 21% of the tumors, the majority of them were located in a C-tract (D310). The prevalence of D310 mutations increased significantly with the number of cytosines in the matched normal tissue sequence (P=0.02). Hypopharyngeal cancer was significantly more frequent (P=0.03) and tobacco consumption more important (P=0.01) in the group of patients with D-Loop mutation. The presence of D-Loop mutation was not associated with prognosis or with response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. These results suggest that D-Loop mutations should be considered as a cancer biomarker that may be useful for the early detection of HNSCC in individuals at risk of this cancer.

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