Ezrin-Radixin-Moesin Binding Phosphoprotein 50: A Potential Novel Biomarker in Human Papilloma Virus-Associated Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinomas

Athiva Shankar, Dorothy H. Crouch, Michaelina Macluskey (Lead / Corresponding author)

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Abstract

High-risk human papilloma virus (HR-HPV) has increasingly been associated with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), in particular oropharyngeal cancers. Ezrin-Radixin-Moesin Binding Phosphoprotein 50 (EBP50), a putative tumour suppressor, localises to the plasma membrane in suprabasal epithelium and to the cytoplasm in proliferative basal layers, and is a target for degradation by the HR-HPV E6 oncoprotein. The aim of this study was to investigate EBP50 protein expression patterns in HNSCC in a large Scottish cohort to determine if there was a correlation with HPV status and clinical outcomes. EBP50 expression patterns were assessed in 156 HNSCC including oropharyngeal (37.8%), laryngeal (24%), oral (19%) and other sites (18.5%), which were genotyped for presence of HR-HPV. HNSCC were generally negative for membranous EBP50. EBP50 expression was either cytoplasmic/absent, being 'predominantly cytoplasmic' in 76 (49%), 'weak/negligible cytoplasmic' in 44 (28%), 'strongly cytoplasmic' in 5 (3%), 'heterogeneous' in 26 (17%) and 'other' in 5 (3%) samples. Forty tumours (25%) were positive for HPV DNA, predominantly HR-HPV 16, and 44 (28%) were p16 positive. The majority of tumours (71%) with 'weak/negligible cytoplasmic' EBP50 expression originated in the oropharynx were more likely to have positive neck nodes, overexpression of p16 and positive tumour HR-HPV status (P < 0.001). Differences in EBP50 levels between oropharyngeal and non-oropharyngeal tumours may be linked to degradation of EBP50 by HR-HPV, and loss of EBP50 may therefore be a surrogate biomarker for HR-HPV infection in oropharyngeal tumours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-197
Number of pages10
JournalHead and Neck Pathology
Volume13
Issue number2
Early online date30 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

Keywords

  • EBP50
  • Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
  • Human papilloma virus
  • Oropharyngeal cancers

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