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Int J Cancer. 2009 May 1;124(9):2098-105. doi: 10.1002/ijc.24192.

Cytoplasmic accumulation of activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule is a predictor of disease progression and reduced survival in oral cancer patients.

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Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Rotary Cancer Hospital, All India Institute for Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi, India.


Activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM) has been proposed to function as a cell surface sensor for cell density, controlling the transition between local cell proliferation and tissue invasion in cancer progression. Herein, we determined ALCAM expression in 107 oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCCs), 78 oral lesions (58 hyperplasias and 20 dysplasias) and 30 histologically normal oral tissues using immunohistochemistry and correlated with clinicopathological parameters. Significant increase in ALCAM immunopositivity was observed from normal oral mucosa, hyperplasia, dysplasia to OSCCs (p(trend) < 0.001). Increased ALCAM expression was observed in cytoplasm of epithelial cells as early as in hyperplasia (p = 0.001, OR = 3.8). Sixty-five of 107 (61%) OSCCs showed significant overexpression of ALCAM protein in cytoplasm/membrane of tumor cells (p = 0.043; OR = 3.3) in comparison with the normal oral tissues. Among OSCCs, cytoplasmic ALCAM was associated with advanced tumor size, tumor stage and tobacco consumption. Importantly, cytoplasmic ALCAM was an independent predictor of poor prognosis of OSCCs in multivariate analysis (p = 0.012, OR = 6.2). In an attempt to understand the molecular basis of cytoplasmic localization of ALCAM, 14-3-3 zeta and 14-3-3 sigma were identified as its novel binding partners in oral cancer cells. In conclusion, increased expression of ALCAM is an early event in oral tumorigenesis; its cytoplasmic accumulation in tumor cells is a predictor of poor prognosis of OSCCs, underscoring its potential as a candidate prognostic marker for oral cancer.

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