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Auris Nasus Larynx. 2010 Aug;37(4):488-95. doi: 10.1016/j.anl.2009.11.012. Epub 2009 Dec 28.

Expression of CC-chemokine receptor 7 (CCR7) and CXC-chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

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Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, 465 Kajii-cho, Kawaramachi-Hirokoji, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-0841, Japan.



We tried to clarify the correlation of the expression of CCR7 and CXCR4 with lymph node and distant metastasis.


We examined expression of CCR7 and CXCR4 in 9 HNSCC cell lines and 25 HNSCC tissues by semi-quantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry study. We examined the expression levels of CCR7 and CXCR4 in undifferentiated and differentiated human normal keratinocyte.


All cell lines expressed CCR7 mRNA, and three expressed CXCR4 mRNA. CCR7 and CXCR4 mRNAs were significantly higher in HNSCC tissues than in non-neoplastic tissues (p<0.05, respectively) and correlated with lymph node metastasis (p<0.05, respectively). The level of CXCR4 mRNA also correlated with distant metastasis (p<0.05). Immunohistochemistry demonstrated localization of CCR7 and CXCR4 to carcinoma cells and lymphocytes and immunohistochemical staining scores of CCR7 and CXCR4 also showed similar correlation to lymph node and distant metastasis with CCR7 and CXCR4 mRNA levels. The level of CCR7 mRNA was significantly higher in poorly and moderately differentiated than in well-differentiated HNSCC (p<0.05). The level of CCR7 mRNA in undifferentiated keratinocyte was significantly higher than that in differentiated keratinocyte.


The expression of CCR7 in HNSCC increases by dedifferentiation and plays an important role in lymph node metastasis of HNSCC and CXCR4 plays an important role in lymph node metastasis as well as distant metastasis.

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