Immunohistochemical study of sialyl Lea and sialyl Le(x) antigen in oral squamous cell carcinoma: The association of sialyl Lea expression with the metastatic potential

Shin Ichi Kurahara, Masanori Shinohara, Tetsuro Ikebe, Seiji Nakamura, Akimitu Hiraki, Masanori Sasaki, Mahiro Beppu, Kanemitsu Shirasuna

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Carbohydrate antigens in cancer cells are considered to be involved in the binding of cancer cells to the endothelium during metastasis. Methods. Seventy cases of primary oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) were obtained from biopsy specimens and were analyzed immunohistochemically using an antibody against sialyl Lewis (Le)a or sialyl Le(x). Flow cytometry was performed to detect the sialyl Lea or sialyl Le(x) expressed on oral SCC cell lines. Results. The expressions of sialyl Lea, but not sialyl Le(x), of primary tumors significantly correlated to nodal metastasis; 71% of the metastatic cases express sialyl Lea and the cases with positive sialyl Lea and no sialyl Le(x) demonstrated a high incidence of metastasis (80%). A flow cytometric study demonstrated the oral SCC cell line, which can metastasize in nude mice, to express a high level of sialyl Lea. Conclusion. The high expression of sialyl Lea in primary tumors may thus be involved in nodal metastasis and therefore predict a poor prognosis in oral SCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-337
Number of pages8
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology

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