Association of OCT4, SOX2, and NANOG expression with oral squamous cell carcinoma progression

Ting Ying Fu, I. Chien Hsieh, Jiin Tsuey Cheng, Meng Han Tsai, Yu Yi Hou, Jang Hwa Lee, Huei Han Liou, Sheng Feng Huang, Hung Chih Chen, Leing Ming Yen, Hui Hwa Tseng, Luo Ping Ger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

80 Scopus citations


Background: OCT4, SOX2, and NANOG are major transcription factors related to stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. The aim of this study was to examine the association of OCT4, SOX2, and NANOG expression levels with the development and prognosis of patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). Materials and Methods: Expression levels of OCT4, SOX2, and NANOG were evaluated by immunohistochemistry with tissue microarray slides of 436 OSCC, 362 corresponding tumor-adjacent normal (CTAN) tissues, and 71 normal uvula epithelium tissues. The clinicopathologic and follow-up data of the OSCC patients were recorded. Results: OCT4 expression was significantly higher in normal and CTAN tissues than in tumor tissue (both P < 0.001). SOX2 expression in CTAN tissue was significantly higher than that in normal (P = 0.021) and tumor tissues (P < 0.001). However, NANOG expression was significantly higher in CTAN (P = 0.014) and tumor tissues (P = 0.009) than in normal tissue. Higher OCT4 and SOX2 expressions were associated with earlier AJCC stage (P = 0.002 and P < 0.001), small tumor size (P = 0.017 and P = 0.001), and the absence of lymph node metastasis (P = 0.015 and P = 0.025). Higher levels of SOX2 expression were associated with better disease-specific survival (P = 0.002) even after adjustment for clinicopathologic factors. Discussion: OCT4 and SOX2 are biomarkers of tumorigenesis and early stage OSCC. SOX2 is an independent prognostic factor for OSCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Oral Pathology and Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 01 02 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • OCT4
  • Oral cancer
  • SOX2
  • Squamous cell carcinoma


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