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    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Glyoxalase 1 is a key enzyme in the detoxification of reactive metabolites such as methylglyoxal and induced Glyoxalase 1 expression has been demonstrated for several human malignancies. However, the regulation and clinical relevance of Glyoxalase 1 in the context of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma has not been addressed so far. METHODS: Argpyrimidine modification as a surrogate for methylglyoxal accumulation and Glyoxalase 1 expression in tumor cells was assessed by immunohistochemical staining of tissue microarrays with specimens from oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma patients (n = 154). Prognostic values of distinct Glyoxalase 1 staining patterns were demonstrated by Kaplan-Meier, univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazard model analysis. The impact of exogenous methylglyoxal or a Glyoxalase 1 inhibitor on the viability of two established tumor cell lines was monitored by a colony-forming assay in vitro. RESULTS: Glyoxalase 1 expression in tumor cells of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma patients was positively correlated with the presence of Argpyrimidine modification and administration of exogenous methylglyoxal induced Glyoxalase 1 protein levels in FaDu and Cal27 cells in vitro. Cal27 cells with lower basal and methylglyoxal-induced Glyoxalase 1 expression were more sensitive to the cytotoxic effect at high methylgyoxal concentrations and both cell lines showed a decrease in colony formation with increasing amounts of a Glyoxalase 1 inhibitor. A high and nuclear Glyoxalase 1 staining was significantly correlated with shorter progression-free and disease-specific survival, and served as an independent risk factor for an unfavorable prognosis of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma patients. CONCLUSIONS: Induced Glyoxalase 1 expression is a common feature in the pathogenesis of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma and most likely represents an adaptive response to the accumulation of cytotoxic metabolites. Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma patients with a high and nuclear Glyoxalase 1 staining pattern have a high risk for treatment failure, but might benefit from pharmacological targeting Glyoxalase 1 activity.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28549423
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