Identification of increased NBS1 expression as a prognostic marker of squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity

Dennis Shin Shian Hsu, Shyue Yih Chang, Chung Ji Liu, Cheng Hwai Tzeng, Kou Juey Wu, Jung Yie Kao*, Muh Hwa Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

25 Scopus citations


Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is one of the most prevalent cancers worldwide; however, accurate molecular markers to predict its prognosis are still limited. We previously demonstrated that overexpression of the DNA double-strand break repair protein NBS1 is a prognostic marker of advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Therefore, we aimed to investigate the feasibility of using NBS1 as a biomarker in OSCC. In this study, we enrolled 148 OSCC for immunohistochemical (IHC) and clinical analysis. Data from 58 advanced non-oral-cavity HNSCC (NO-HNSCC) cases were also included for comparison due to the biological and clinical discrepancy between OSCC and HNSCC originated from the other sites (e.g. pharynx or larynx). First, we validated the NBS1 IHC results by real-time RT-PCR analysis, and an excellent correlation between the results of these two assays confirmed the reliability and robustness of IHC procedures and interpretation. NBS1 overexpression was an independent prognostic marker in both OSCC and NO-HNSCC cases. In OSCC, the prognostic significance of NBS1 was shown regardless of T stage and lymph node status. Increased NBS1 expression correlated with advanced T stage and recurrence/metastasis. NBS1 overexpression correlated with the phosphorylation levels of Akt and its downstream target mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). These results clearly illustrate the expression profile of NBS1 in OSCC and NO-HNSCC, and highlight the role of NBS1 in HNSCC irrespective of the primary sites. It also indicates the practicability of application of NBS1 as a marker in OSCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1029-1037
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 04 2010
Externally publishedYes


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