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Open Access Research

Prognostic significance of heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) in patients with oral cancer

Frank Tavassol1*, Oliver F Starke2, Horst Kokemüller1, Gerd Wegener3, Corinna CM Müller-Tavassol4, Nils-Claudius Gellrich1 and André Eckardt1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Hannover Medical School, Hanover, Germany

2 Department of Cranio- and Maxillofacial Surgery, Heinrich-Heine-University, Duesseldorf, Germany

3 Tumor Registry, Hannover Medical School, Hanover, Germany

4 Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocinology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany

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Head & Neck Oncology 2011, 3:10  doi:10.1186/1758-3284-3-10

Published: 23 February 2011

Abstract

Backround

Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is characterized by an aggressive growth pattern, local invasiveness, and spread to cervical lymph nodes. Overall survival rates have not improved, primarily due to locoregional tumor recurrences and distant metastasis. To date, no trustworthy or clinically applicable marker of tumor aggressiveness has been identified for OSCC. Heat shock proteins (HSPs) play a role in tumor antigenicity. This study aimed to investigate the expression and prognostic significance of highly stress-inducible HSP70 in OSCC.

Methods

Immunohistochemical staining for HSP70 was performed on surgical specimens obtained from 61 patients with OSCC. Light microscopy and analysis 3.1® (Soft Imaging System, Münster, Germany), an image processing and analysis program, were used for evaluating HSP70 expression. The tumor region was defined as the region of interest (ROI) and HSP70-positive staining was analyzed.

Results

Immunoreactivity for HSP70 was positive in tumor cells of 38 of all patients (63.3%). Positive immunoreactivity of tumor cells could be detected in 17 of 28 patients with T2 tumors (60.7%) Prognostic significance of HSP70 expression in tumor cells was detected in patients with T2 tumors (p = 0.009).

Conclusions

The survival of patients suffering from T2 tumors with positive HSP70 expression was 8 times higher than that for patients with negative HSP70 expression, suggesting that T1-T2 tumors of OSCC with low expression of HSP70 require more radical treatment.