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J Biol Chem. 2010 Oct 15;285(42):32512-21. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.150490. Epub 2010 Aug 11.

Pro-inflammatory genes as biomarkers and therapeutic targets in oral squamous cell carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Bioscience Research, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee 38163, USA.


Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is a major health problem worldwide, and patients have a particularly poor 5-year survival rate. Thus, identification of the molecular targets in OSCC and subsequent innovative therapies are greatly needed. Prolonged exposure to alcohol, tobacco, and pathogenic agents are known risk factors and have suggested that chronic inflammation may represent a potential common denominator in the development of OSCC. Microarray analysis of gene expression in OSCC cell lines with high basal NF-κB activity and OSCC patient samples identified dysregulation of many genes involved in inflammation, wound healing, angiogenesis, and growth regulation. In particular IL-8, CCL5, STAT1, and VEGF gene expression was up-regulated in OSCC. Moreover, IL-8 protein levels were significantly higher in OSCC cell lines as compared with normal human oral keratinocytes. Targeting IL-8 expression by siRNA significantly reduced the survival of OSCC cells, indicating that it plays an important role in OSCC development and/or progression. Inhibiting the inflammatory pathway by aspirin and the proteasome/NF-κB pathway by bortezomib resulted in marked reduction in cell viability in OSCC lines. Taken together our studies indicate a strong link between inflammation and OSCC development and reveal IL-8 as a potential mediator. Treatment based on prevention of general inflammation and/or the NF-κB pathway shows promise in OSCCs.

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