Analysis of tissue and salivary nicotinamide N-methyltransferase in oral squamous cell carcinoma: Basis for the development of a noninvasive diagnostic test for early-stage disease

Davide Sartini, Valentina Pozzi, Elisabetta Renzi, Stefano Morganti, Romina Rocchetti, Corrado Rubini, Andrea Santarelli, Lorenzo Lo Muzio, Monica Emanuelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is the most common form of head and neck cancer worldwide. In recent decades, the 5-year mortality rate is approximately 50% around the world. As reliable biomarkers of oral cancer are still lacking, it is necessary to identify new target molecules for early diagnosis, effective therapy, and monitoring of the disease. In the present work, we focused on the expression of the enzyme nicotinamide N-methyltransferase (NNMT). We analyzed enzyme activity in 37 paired tumor and non-tumor tissues and found that activity levels are significantly higher in tumor compared with adjacent normal oral mucosa. Interestingly, oral epithelium surrounding tumor of unfavorable cases (N+) seems to display higher activity levels compared with that of favorable ones (N0). Western blot analyses were performed to evaluate protein levels in saliva samples from patients with OSCC and healthy subjects. Preliminary results indicated an up-regulation of salivary NNMT in tumor. This study shows a marked increase in enzyme activity in oral cancer and suggests that adjacent normal tissue of unfavorable cases seems to change toward cancer. Moreover, it is conceivable to hypothesize that NNMT could represent a potential biomarker for early and non-invasive diagnosis of oral cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-511
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Chemistry
Volume393
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2012

Keywords

  • enzyme activity
  • oral cancer
  • salivary tumor marker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology

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