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Role of hypoxia and epithelial-mesenchymal transition in the formation and maintenance of oral cancer stem cells in oral squamous cell carcinomas and metastatic lymph node: An immunohistochemical analysis

J Oral Maxillofac Pathol. 2023 Apr-Jun;27(2):307-314. doi: 10.4103/jomfp.jomfp_368_22. Epub 2023 Jul 13.


BACKGROUND: Inspite of having advanced treatment modalities the overall survival rate in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) remains poor. This is considered to be mainly due to local recurrence and distant metastasis. Various studies have concentrated on the role of oral cancer stem cells (OCSCs) in the progression and metastasis of OSCC. However, the role of tumor microenvironment components has been less delved into. Hence clarity on cell biology and metastatic potential OCSCs is essential for the development of more effective anti-cancer treatment.

AIM: To establish the role of OCSCs in different grades of OSCC and metastatic lymph nodes through the expression of cluster of differentiation 44 (CD44). To demonstrate and correlate the role of hypoxia and Epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) in the various grades and metastatic lymph nodes in the formation and maintenance of OCSCs by employing Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 Alpha (HIF 1α) and Snail respectively.

METHOD AND MATERIAL: A total of 36 cases of OSCC, 12 from each grade and 12 normal oral mucosal tissues were included in the study. Immunohistochemical staining was performed for the demonstration of CD44, HIF1α, and Snail.

STATISTICS: Descriptive analysis, Chi-square, and Spearman’s rank correlation were used to analyze frequency and proportion, to compare expression and correlate between lesion proper and lymph node in each group respectively.

RESULTS: Significant expression of CD44, HIF1 α, and Snail among advancing grades of OSCC and their metastatic lymph node were observed. A positive correlation was seen between them.

CONCLUSIONS: The prognosis of OSCC can be improved by better understanding and targeting the molecules involved in the formation and maintenance of OCSCs.

PMID:37854934 | PMC:PMC10581292 | DOI:10.4103/jomfp.jomfp_368_22

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