Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Aims: To investigate whether the expression of interferon (IFN)-inducible gene IFI16 is inversely related to proliferative activity in vivo, we compared immunohistochemical reactivity of IFI16 in a series of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) with their proliferation index and the cell cycle regulator pRb. As human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is manifested by changes in the function or expression level of host genes such as IFN-inducible genes, we also investigated the presence of HPV DNA to determine whether head and neck cancers associated with HPV DNA can be distinguished from tumours that are presumably transformed by other mechanisms.Methods: Thirty-six HNSCCs were evaluated for IFI16, pRb and Ki67 expression by immunohistochemistry. The presence of HPV was also detected by polymerase chain reaction. Nine tumours were located in the oropharynx (tonsillar area) and 27 in the larynx.Results: HPV DNA was found in 14 of 25 (56%) laryngeal SCCs and in five of nine (56%) tonsillar SCC specimens examined; 17 out of the 19 HPV-DNA-positive cases showed high-grade IFI16 expression. Overall, proliferative activity was significantly related to tumour differentiation and histological grading. IFI16 protein expression was significantly inversely correlated with Ki67 (P = 0.039). Low-proliferating tumours positive for IFI16 staining showed a marked expression of pRb and a better prognosis than those whose tumours had low IFI16, pRb levels and a high proliferation index.Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first expression analysis of the IFN-inducible IFI16 gene in HNSCC. Low-proliferating tumours positive for IFI16 staining showed a marked expression of pRb and a better prognosis than those whose tumours had low IFI16, pRb levels and a high proliferation index.
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