Evaluation of Tissue Expression and Salivary Levels of HER2/neu in Patients with Head and Neck Squamous cell Carcinoma

Document Type: Original

Authors

1 Department of Oral and MaxillofacialPathology, School of Dentistry, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

2 Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

3 Department of Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

4 Department of Otolaryngology, Khalili Hospital, Shiraz Institute for Cancer Research, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

5 Shiraz Institute for Cancer Research, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

Abstract

Introduction:
HER2/neu, a member of the epidermal growth factor receptor family, has been shown to be over-expressed in some tumors. The purpose of this study was to determine the salivary levels and tissue expression of HER2/neu in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and their correlation with clinicopathologic parameters.
 
Materials and Methods:
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) were used to evaluate the salivary levels of HER2/neu and immunohistochemistry was used to measure tissue expression of HER2/neu in 28 patients with HNSCC and 25 healthy control subjects.
 
Results:
The salivary levels of HER2/neu in patients with HNSCC were not significantly higher compared to healthy control subjects. There was no apparent correlation between salivary HER2/neu levels and clinicopathological features such as age, sex, tumor grade, tumor size and nodal status. All HNSCC specimens were positive (membranous or/and cytoplasmic) for HER2/neu, except one sample. Only one HNSCC specimen showed staining purely in the tumor-cell cytoplasm. All control specimens were also positive for both membranous and cytoplasmic HER2/neu but there was a significant difference between the level of cytoplasmic staining in the HNSCC specimens and in the control specimens (P<0.05).
 
Conclusion:
In our study, no overexpression of HER2/neu was observed. Thus, identification of HER2/neu levels plays no role in differentiating between normal and squamous cell carcinoma tissues or detecting the carcinogenesis process. Our findings suggest that the use of HER2/neu as a salivary marker of HNSCC is not recommended, because no significant preoperative elevation and no association with clinicopathological features were found. 

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