Overexpression of activin A in oral squamous cell carcinoma: Association with poor prognosis and tumor progression

Kai-Ping Chang, Huang Kai Kao, Ying Liang, Ming Hui Cheng, Yu Liang Chang, Shiau Chin Liu, Yu Chi Lin, Tzu Yin Ko, Yun-Shien Lee, Chia Lung Tsai, Tzu-Hao Wang, Sheong-Po Hao*, Chi Neu Tsai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

46 Scopus citations


Background. Both activin A, a member of transforming growth factor β superfamily, and its inhibitor follistatin have been shown to be overexpressed in various cancers. We examined the potential role of activin A and follistatin in tissue and blood samples from patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma. Methods. For activin A and follistatin, the expression of tissue samples from 92 patients was examined by immunohistochemical study, and the serum levels of blood samples from 111 patients and 91 healthy controls were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results. We found that overexpression of immunohistochemically detected activin A was correlated with positive N stage, poor histological differentiation, and perineural invasion (P = 0.029, 0.002, and 0.014, respectively). In survival analyses, patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma, whose tumors overexpressed activin A, had a worse prognosis for overall survival and disease-free survival (P = 0.009 and 0.007). However, expression of follistatin in tumor was not correlated with overall survival or diseasefree survival. Serum activin A and follistatin levels in 111 untreated patients were neither significantly different from those of 91 control samples nor associated with any clinicopathological manifestations. In vitro suppression of activin A expression in OC3 cells using specific interfering RNA-attenuated cell proliferation, migration, and invasiveness. Conclusions. These findings suggest that activin A overexpression in oral squamous cell carcinomas is associated with patients' survival and may contribute to tumor progression and metastasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1945-1956
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 07 2010


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