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Cytoplasmic expression of HuR may be a valuable diagnostic tool for determining the potential for malignant transformation of oral verrucous borderline lesions

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Oral verrucous carcinoma (OVC) is a low grade variant of oral squamous cell carcinoma, and oral verrucous hyperplasia (OVH) is a benign lesion without malignant features. However, pathologists are sometimes presented with borderline lesions and are indecisive as to diagnose them as benign or malignant. Thus, these lesions are tentatively termed oral verrucous lesions (OVLs). HuR is an ARE mRNA-binding protein, normally localized in the nucleus but cytoplasmic exportation is frequently observed in cancer cells. The present study aimed to elucidate whether expression of the HuR protein facilitates the diagnosis of true malignant lesions. Clinicopathological features were evaluated, and immunohistochemical analysis for p53, Ki67 and HuR proteins was performed in 48 cases of OVH, OVC and OVL, and the outcomes were correlated using appropriate statistical analysis. The association of these three proteins in relation to malignant transformation was analyzed after a 3-year follow-up of 25 OVL cases. The basal characteristics (age, gender and location) of all cases had no significant association with the types of lesions. Gingiva (39.4%) was the common site for all lesions. Distribution of the examined proteins had a significant association with the lesions. As compared with the OVLs, the number of immunostained-positive cells was significantly higher in the OVCs and lower in the OVH cases. During follow-up, 24% of the OVLs underwent malignant transformation for which high HuR expression and a diffuse staining pattern in the epithelium were observed. Taken together, the high degree of HuR expression with diffuse staining pattern in the epithelium may be an effective diagnostic tool that determines the potential of OVLs for malignant transformation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Oral Pathology and Biology, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Dental Medicine, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-8586, Japan 2: Department of Vascular Biology, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Dental Medicine, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-8586, Japan 3: Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Dental Medicine, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-8586, Japan

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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