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Br J Cancer. 1998 Apr;77(8):1253-9.

Prognostic significance of methyl-p-hydroxy-phenyllactate-esterase activity in laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma.

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  • 1Institute of Otolaryngology, Catholic University, Rome, Italy.


We assayed methyl-p-hydroxyphenyllactate esterase (MeHPLAase) activity in 63 cases of primary laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma. MeHPLAase activity did not show any correlation with oestrogen, progesterone and epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor levels. No significant relationship was found between MeHPLAase activity and age, sex, tumour site, T classification, stage of disease and EGFR status, whereas a significant inverse relationship was found between enzymatic activity and neck lymph node positivity at presentation. The median value of MeHPLAase activity tended to be higher in tumours with low histopathological grade than in those with high histopathological grade. During the follow-up period (median 50 months, range 2-90 months) locoregional recurrences were observed in 31 out of 63 (49%) cases. At the end of the study, 27 out of 63 (43%) patients had died of cancer. Cox univariate analysis using MeHPLAase activity as a continuous covariate showed that the levels of enzymatic activity were inversely associated with the risk of death and relapse. Assuming the mean value of enzymatic activity as the cut-off value, we found a statistically significant relationship between high MeHPLAase activity and longer relapse-free and overall survival. MeHPLAase activity status retained its prognostic significance also in the lymph node-negative subgroup of patients. On multivariate analysis, both EGFR and MeHPLAase activity proved to be independent factors for predicting a short relapse and the overall survival.

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