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Oral Oncol. 2009 Jan;45(1):63-8. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2008.03.017. Epub 2008 Jul 11.

The prognostic value of hypoxia markers in T2-staged oral tongue cancer.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, 388-1 Pungnap-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul 138-736, Republic of Korea.


Tumor hypoxia is associated with poorer outcome in patients with head and neck carcinomas, but little is known about hypoxia biomarkers in oral tongue cancer. We evaluated whether hypoxia biomarkers and clinicopathologic variables were prognostic predictors in patients with T2-staged squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the oral tongue. Tissue microarrays were constructed from formalin-fixed tumor blocks of 43 patients with T2-staged tongue SCCs treated by surgical resection and neck dissection. Tissue samples were stained with monoclonal antibodies to hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1alpha, HIF-2alpha, carbonic anhydrase (CA)-9, glucose transporter (GLUT)-1, and erythropoietin receptor (EPOR). Locoregional control and survival rates were calculated by the Kaplan-Meier method, and prognostic factors were calculated from uni- and multivariate analyses. Tumor thickness was correlated with expression of CA-9 and GLUT-1 and nodal classification was correlated with GLUT-1 expression. The nodal metastasis rate was 51%, and the 5-year locoregional control and disease-specific survival (DSS) rates were 59% and 69%, respectively. Univariate analysis showed that HIF-1alpha and EPOR expression were significantly related to DSS. Multivariate analysis showed that EPOR expression was an independent predictor of DSS (P=0.030). EPOR expression may be an independent predictor for DSS in patients with T2-staged SCC of the oral tongue.

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