Overexpression of rap-1A indicates a poor prognosis for oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma and promotes tumor cell invasion via aurora-A modulation

Chang Han Chen, Hui Ching Chuang, Chao Cheng Huang, Fu Min Fang, Hsuan Ying Huang, Hsin Ting Tsai, Li Jen Su, Li Yen Shiu, Steve Leu, Chih Yen Chien*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

30 Scopus citations


The functions of Rap-1A in oral carcinogenesis are largely unexplored. In this study, we examined the expression of Rap-1A at different malignant stages of oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (OCSCC). Semiquantitative RT-PCR, quantitative RT-PCR, and Western blotting were used to evaluate Rap-1A mRNA and protein expressions, respectively, in paired OCSCC patient specimens. To determine the possible correlation between Rap-1A expression and various clinical characteristics, 256 samples from patients with OCSCC were evaluated by immunohistochemical staining. Strong Rap-1A expression was a significant prognostic marker and predictor of aggressive OCSCC. The overall and disease-specific 5-year survival rates were significantly correlated with strong expression of Rap-1A (P < 0.001). Functionally, overexpressed Rap-1A could promote oral cancer cell migration and invasion by Transwell chambers and wound healing assay. Conversely, the suppression of Rap-1A expression using Rap-1A-mediated siRNA was sufficient to decrease cell motility. Furthermore, our data also illustrated that Aurora-A could not only induce mRNA and protein expressions of Rap-1A for enhancing cancer cell motility but also co-localize and form a complex with Rap-1A in the oral cancer cell line. Finally, immunohistochemical staining, indirect immunofluorescence, and Western blotting analysis of human aggressive OCSCC specimens revealed a significantly positive correlation between Rap-1A and Aurora-A expression. Taken together, our results suggest that the Aurora-A/Rap-1A pathway is associated with survival, tumor progression, and metastasis of OCSCC patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-528
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 02 2013


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