Autophagy analysis in oral carcinogenesis

T. B. de Lima, A. H.R. Paz, P. V. Rados, R. Leonardi, P. Bufo, M. C. Pedicillo, A. Santoro, S. Cagiano, G. Aquino, G. Botti, G. Pannone, F. Visioli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the levels of autophagy in oral leukoplakia and squamous cell carcinoma and to correlate with clinical pathological features, as well as, the evolution of these lesions. Methodology: 7 Normal oral mucosa, 51 oral leukoplakias, and 120 oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC) were included in the study. Histological sections of the mucosa and leukoplakias were evaluated throughout their length, while the carcinomas were evaluated using Tissue Microarray. After the immunohistochemical technique, LC3-II positive cells were quantified in the different epithelial layers of the mucosa and leukoplakias and in the microarrays of the squamous cell carcinomas. The correlation between positive cells with the different clinical-pathological variables and with the evolution of the lesions was tested using the t test, ANOVA, and Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. Results: We observed increased levels of autophagy in the oral squamous cell carcinomas (p. <. 0.001) in relation to the other groups, but without any association with poorer evolution or survival of these patients. Among the leukoplakias, we observed a higher percentage of positive cells in the intermediate layer of the dysplastic leukoplakias (p = 0.0319) and in the basal layer of lesions with poorer evolution (p = 0.0133). Conclusion: The levels of autophagy increased during the process of oral carcinogenesis and are correlated with poorer behavior of the leukoplakias.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPathology Research and Practice
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017


  • Autophagy
  • LC3-II
  • Leukoplakia
  • Oral squamous cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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