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Cancer Sci. 2010 Jun;101(6):1511-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2010.01551.x. Epub 2010 Feb 4.

Frequent alterations of the candidate genes hMLH1, ITGA9 and RBSP3 in early dysplastic lesions of head and neck: clinical and prognostic significance.

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Department of Oncogene Regulation and Gynaecology Oncology, Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, Kolkata, India.


To understand the association between candidate tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) human mismatch repair protein homologue 1 (hMLH1), AP20 region gene 1 (APRG1), integrin alpha RLC (ITGA9), RB1 serine phosphates from human chromosome 3 (RBSP3) at chromosomal 3p22.3 region and development of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), alterations (deletion/promoter methylation/expression) of these genes were analyzed in 65 dysplastic lesions and 84 HNSCC samples. Clinicopathological correlations were made with alterations of the genes. In HNSCC, deletion frequencies of hMLH1, ITGA9, and RBSP3 were comparatively higher than APRG1. Overall alterations (deletion/methylation) of hMLH1, ITGA9, and RBSP3 were high (45-55%) in mild dysplasia and comparable in subsequent stages of tumor progression. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis showed reduced expression of these genes in tumors concordant to their molecular alterations. An in vitro demethylation experiment by 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine confirmed the promoter hypermethylation of RBSP3 in Hep2 and UPCI:SCC084 cell lines. Functionally less-active RBSP3A isoform was predominant in tumor tissues contrary to the adjacent normal tissue of tumors where more active RBSP3B isoform was prevalent. In immunohistochemical analysis, intense nuclear staining of hMLH1 and pRB (phosphorylated RB, the substrate of RBSP3) proteins were seen in the basal layer of normal epithelium. In tumors, concordance was seen between (i) low/intermediate level of hMLH1 expression and its molecular alterations; and (ii) intense nuclear staining of pRB and RBSP3 alterations. Poor patient outcome was seen with hMLH1 and RBSP3 alterations. Moreover, in absence of human papilloma virus (HPV) infection, tobacco-addicted patients with hMLH1, RBSP3 alterations, and nodal invasions showed poor prognosis. Thus our data suggests that dysregulation of hMLH1, ITGA9, and RBSP3 associated multiple cellular pathways are needed for the development of early dysplastic lesions of the head and neck.

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