Background: The proto-oncogene pituitary tumor-transforming gene (PTTG) has been shown to be abundantly overexpressed in a large variety of neoplasms likely promoting neo-vascularization and tumor invasiveness. In this study, we investigated a potential role for PTTG mRNA expression as a marker to evaluate the future clinical outcome of patients diagnosed with primary cancer of the head and neck. Methods: Tumor samples derived from primary tumors of 89 patients suffering from a squamous cell carcinoma were analyzed for PTTG mRNA-expression and compared to corresponding unaffected tissue. Expression levels were correlated to standard clinico-pathological parameters based on a five year observation period. Results: In almost all 89 tumor samples PTTG was found to be overexpressed (median fold increase: 2.1) when compared to the unaffected tissue specimens derived from the same patient. The nodal stage correlated with PTTG transcript levels with significant differences between pN0 (median expression: 1.32) and pN+ (median expression: 2.12; P=0.016). In patients who developed a tumor recurrence we detected a significantly higher PTTG expression in primary tumors (median expression: 2.63) when compared to patients who did not develop a tumor recurrence (median expression: 1.29; P=0.009). Since the median expression of PTTG in patients with tumor stage T1/2N0M0 that received surgery alone without tumor recurrence was 0.94 versus 3.82 in patients suffering from a tumor recurrence (P=0.006), PTTG expression might provide a feasible mean of predicting tumor recurrence. Conclusion: Elevated PTTG transcript levels might be used as a prognostic biomarker for future clinical outcome (i.e. recurrence) in primary squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck, especially in early stages of tumor development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research