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Oral Oncol. 2012 Jan;48(1):67-72. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2011.06.511. Epub 2011 Aug 9.

Relationship between epidermal growth factor receptor gene copy number and protein expression in oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan.


This study was designed to explore the relationship between epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) copy number and EGFR protein expression in oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (OSCCs) in Taiwan. A total of 160 oral cavity squamous cell carcinomas were examined for EGFR protein overexpression using immunohistochemistry and for copy number using a fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assay. Overexpression and increased gene copy numbers of EGFR were found in 75 (46.88%) and 50 (31.25%) cases, respectively. The concordance rate for EGFR gene amplification and protein overexpression was 100%. EGFR overexpression was associated with a poor prognosis both in terms of disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS). On the other hand, the association between an increase in EGFR gene copies and DFS or OS was insignificant. This was despite the observed significant associations between gene copy number and tumor stage, depth of tumor invasion, lymph node metastasis, bone invasion and perineural invasion. EGFR protein overexpression is closely related to EGFR copy number. Standard methodological and interpretation criteria need to be established that allows EGFR copy number combined with EGFR protein expression to be determined in a manner that allows individualized EGFR targeted therapy in OSCC patients.

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