Beta-catenin and epithelial tumors: A study based on 374 oropharyngeal cancers

Angela Santoro, Giuseppe Pannone, Silvana Papagerakis, H. Stan McGuff, Barbara Cafarelli, Silvia Lepore, Salvatore De Maria, Corrado Rubini, Marilena Mattoni, Stefania Staibano, Ernesto Mezza, Gaetano De Rosa, Gabriella Aquino, Simona Losito, Carla Loreto, Salvatore Crimi, Pantaleo Bufo, Lorenzo Lo Muzio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Introduction. Although altered regulation of the Wnt pathway via beta-catenin is a frequent event in several human cancers, its potential implications in oral/oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC/OPSCC) are largely unexplored. Work purpose was to define association between beta-catenin expression and clinical-pathological parameters in 374 OSCCs/OP-SCCs by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Materials and Methods. Association between IHC detected patterns of protein expression and clinical-pathological parameters was assessed by statistical analysis and survival rates by Kaplan-Meier curves. Beta-catenin expression was also investigated in OSCC cell lines by Real-Time PCR. An additional analysis of the DNA content was performed on 22 representative OSCCs/OPSCCs by DNA-image-cytometric analysis. Results and Discussion. All carcinomas exhibited significant alterations of beta-catenin expression (P < 0.05). Beta-catenin protein was mainly detected in the cytoplasm of cancerous cells and only focal nuclear positivity was observed. Higher cytoplasmic expression correlated significantly with poor histological differentiation, advanced stage, and worst patient outcome (P < 0.05). By Real-Time PCR significant increase of beta-catenin mRNA was detected in OSCC cell lines and in 45% of surgical specimens. DNA ploidy study demonstrated high levels of aneuploidy in beta-catenin overexpressing carcinomas. Conclusions. This is the largest study reporting significant association between beta-catenin expression and clinical-pathological factors in patients with OSCCs/OPSCCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number948264
JournalBioMed Research International
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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