Fragile histidine triad expression in oral squamous cell carcinoma and precursor lesions

Omar Kujan, Richard Oliver, Luca Roz, Gabriella Sozzi, Noel Ribeiro, Robert Woodwards, Nalin Thakker, Philip Sloan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Fragile histidine triad (FHIT) expression in precursor oral lesions (POL) and oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC) was studied with regard to (a) the frequency of loss of FHIT expression, (b) whether loss of FHIT expression correlates with degree of dysplasia in POLs, (c) whether FHIT loss predicts high-risk POLs that are more likely to transform, and (d) whether FHIT loss in OSCCs correlates with survival. Experimental Design: Ninety-four POLs and 86 OSCCs were immunostained for FHIT. Survival analysis was done for cases with validated clinical outcomes. Results: By optimizing the immunostaining protocol, we found that FHIT is expressed in a distinctive strong nuclear and weak cytoplasmic pattern in oral tissues. Loss of FHIT expression was found in 42 of 94 (45%) POLs and in 66 of 86 (77%) OSCCs. We observed a statistically significant positive correlation between frequency of FHIT loss and increasing grade of dysplasia (χ2 = 13.8; degrees of freedom = 4; P = 0.008). Loss of FHIT expression in POLs that progressed to malignancy was more frequent than in those that did not [17 of 25 (68%) versus 12 of 29 (41.4%), respectively]. This difference was statistically significant (χ2 = 3.8; degrees of freedom = 1; P = 0.046). In OSCCs, loss of FHIT staining indicated a worse prognosis (survival rate, 36.2%) than when positive FHIT staining was observed (survival rate, 50%), but the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.546, Kaplan-Meier, log-rank). Conclusions: FHIT seems to localize to both nuclear and cytoplasmic domains. FHIT inactivation occurs early in oral carcinogenesis and may be useful molecular marker for progressive dysplastic oral lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6723-6729
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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