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Gene Regul Syst Bio. 2008 Feb 14;2:63-70.

TAK1 mRNA expression in the tumor tissue of locally advanced head and neck cancer patients.

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Clinical Genetics Unit and Oncology Department, University Clinic of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.


Resistance to radio and chemotherapy is one of the major drawbacks in the progression of head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC) patients, evidencing the importance of finding optimum molecular prognosis markers to develop personalized treatment schedules. TGF-beta effector TAK1 activity has been related to a greater aggressiveness in several types of cancer (Kondo et al. 1998; Edlund et al. 2003; Kaur et al. 2005) and, although there has been described no significant implication of TAK1 in HNSCC development, we have further examined the role of its mRNA expression as a marker of prognosis in HNSCC. Fifty-nine advanced HNSCC patients were recruited for the study. The tumor expression of TAK1 mRNA was analyzed with RT-PCR using Taqman technology and its relationship with the clinical outcome of the patients studied. TAK1 mRNA expression was lower in patients that relapsed than in those that did not, but the difference was only significant between the patients that showed response to treatment (p < 0.001). ROC curve analyses pointed a 0.5 expression ratio TAK1/B2M value as an optimum cut-off point for relapse and response. Our data suggest the TAK1 mRNA analysis by Taqman RT-PCR can predict the risk of relapse in HNSCC patients.


TAK1; head and neck cancer; molecular markers; prognosis; real-time PCR


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