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Chin J Dent Res. 2018;21(1):31-40. doi: 10.3290/j.cjdr.a39916.

Sonic Hedgehog Signalling Activation Contributes to ALCAM Over-Expression and Poor Clinical Outcome in Patients with Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma.



To investigate the Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) signalling molecules and activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM) expression in the mechanisms regulating invasion and metastasis in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC).


The expressions of SHH signalling molecules Gli family zinc finger 1/2 (Gli1/Gli2), as well as ALCAM expression, was analysed in 101 OSCC patients by immunohistochemistry. The potential relationship between Gli1/Gli2 and ALCAM in regard to invasion and metastasis were studied by western blot, invasion and wound-healing assays.


Gli1, Gli2 and ALCAM were expressed in 54.5%, 49.5% and 47.5% of the 101 OSCC specimens, respectively. High expression of ALCAM was associated with shorter survival in the patient population (P = 0.018), which was independent of other clinical parameters. Notably, when both ALCAM expression and positive nodal status were considered, an enhanced prediction of clinical outcomes was achieved (P = 0.001). In OSCC cell lines, down-regulation of ALCAM resulted in reduced cell invasion and metastasis. Importantly, SHH activation increased the half-life of ALCAM leading to ALCAM accumulation and increased cell invasion and migration.


ALCAM over-expression in OSCC is an independent prognostic factor for OSCC patients. Its over-expression may be the result of the activation of the SHH signalling pathway and contributes to OSCC progression.

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