This work describes the different patterns of expression of integrins and extracellular matrix proteins in normal and transformed mucosa in laryngeal and oropharyngeal carcinomas. Samples from each tumor group were sectioned and examined by immunohistochemistry using monoclonal antibodies raised against integrin chains (α2, α3, α6, β1 and β4) and their ligands (laminins 1 and 5, collagen type IV and two fibronectin isoforms: ED-A and ED-B). Controls were provided by samples of tumor-free laryngeal and oropharyngeal mucosa that had been removed during the surgical procedure. We found that the known distinct topographical pattern of integrins and the continuity of basement membrane components was altered in both groups but that the extent of changes was significantly more marked in oropharyngeal tumors, which are known to be more infiltrating and diffusive and to have a bad prognosis. These molecular patterns of expression can be used as an additional prognostic factor as they suggest a greater biological tumor aggressiveness of oropharyngeal tumors. We suggest that performing immunohistochemical analysis on biopsy samples may help in selecting the correct therapeutic strategy for these tumors and enable more accurate follow-up. The above-mentioned molecules may become part of the diagnostic toolbox of head and neck surgical pathologists.
ASJC Scopus subject areas