BACKGROUND: The re-expression of pluripotent markers (Oct-4 and Nanog) and the reactivation of stem cell-related pathways in oral carcinoma have been well researched. However, the relationship between the stem cell signaling molecule β-catenin and pluripotent markers Oct-4 and Nanog in oral cancer is yet to be studied in detail. Therefore, we have investigated the correlation among Oct-4, Nanog, and β-catenin in oral squamous cell carcinoma, which, in turn, could provide valuable insight into its prognostic significance.
METHODS: The immunohistochemical analysis was performed for 60 cases of oral cancer to study the expression pattern of Oct-4, Nanog, and β-catenin. Whereas immunofluorescence analysis was used to investigate the co-localization of β-catenin with Oct-4 and Nanog in oral carcinoma tissues and H314 cell line. Finally, co-immunoprecipitation analysis was used to study the possible interaction between β-catenin and Oct-4 in oral carcinoma cells.
RESULTS: β-catenin, Oct-4, and Nanog showed significant correlation with lymph node metastasis, stage, grade, and prognosis in oral squamous cell carcinoma. Interestingly, a significant positive correlation was found among the expression of Oct-4, Nanog, and β-catenin. Moreover, the interaction between β-catenin and Oct-4 was observed in oral cancer.
CONCLUSION: The positive correlation among Oct-4, Nanog, and β-catenin suggests their coordinated role in maintaining proliferation in oral carcinoma cells. The interaction between β-catenin and Oct-4 may be a crucial event in oral carcinogenesis. On the other hand, β-catenin, Oct-4, and Nanog could be used as independent prognostic markers of oral squamous cell carcinoma.
- cancer stem cells
- oral squamouscell carcinoma