Background: The overall survival for patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue is low and the search for early diagnostic and prognostic markers is thus essential. MicroRNAs have been suggested as potential prognostic and diagnostic candidates in squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck in general.
Methods: On the basis of the known differences between sub-sites within the oral cavity, we investigated the expression and role of microRNA-424 in squamous cell carcinoma arising in tongue. MicroRNA levels were measured by qRT-PCR in both tissue and plasma samples.
Results: Levels of microRNA-424 were upregulated in tongue squamous cell carcinoma, but not in tumours originating from gingiva or floor of the mouth. Interestingly, microRNA-424 was downregulated in clinically normal tongue tissue next to tumour compared with completely healthy tongue, indicating that microRNA-424 could be a marker of field cancerisation in this tumour type. However, expression of microRNA-424 in a tongue-derived epithelial cell line revealed no significant changes in the expression profile of proteins and genes.
Conclusions: Our patient data show that microRNA-424 alterations are a marker of field cancerisation specific for tongue tumourigenesis, which also could have a role in development of tongue squamous cell carcinoma.
- Field cancerisation
- Tongue SCC