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PloS one

Increased expression of flotillin-2 protein as a novel biomarker for lymph node metastasis in nasopharyngeal carcinoma.


PMID 25014228

Abstract

Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a head and neck malignant tumor rare throughout most of the world but common in Southeast Asia, especially in Southern China. Flotillin-2 (Flot-2) is not only an important component of cellular membrane, but also involves in various cellular processes such as membrane trafficking, T cell and B cell activation, regulation of several signaling pathways associated with cell growth and malignant transformation, keeping structure and junction of epidermal cells and formation of filopodia. Although such molecular effects of Flot-2 have been reported, whether the expression of Flot-2 protein is associated with clinicopathologic implication for NPC has not been reported. The purpose of this research is to investigate the expression of Flot-2 protein in NPC and control nasopharyngeal epithelial tissues by immunohistochemistry and elucidate the association between the expression of Flot-2 protein and clinicopathological characteristics of NPC. The results showed that the positive percentage of Flot-2 expression in the NPC, nasopharyngeal epithelia with atypical hyperplasia and in the control nasopharyngeal mucosa epithelia was 88.8% (119/134), 76.9% (10/13) and 5.7% (5/88), respectively. There was significantly higher expression of Flot-2 protein in NPC and nasopharyngeal epithelia with atypical hyperplasia compared to the control nasopharyngeal mucosa epithelia (P<0.001, respectively). The positive percentage of Flot-2 protein expression in NPC patients with lymph node metastasis was significantly higher than those without lymph node metastasis. Increasing of Flot-2 expression was obviously correlated with clinical stages of NPC patients. The expression of Flot-2 was proved to be the independent predicted factor for lymph node metastasis by multivariate analysis. The sensitivity of Flot-2 for predicting lymph node metastasis of NPC patients was 93%. Taken together, our results suggest that the increased expression of Flot-2 protein is a novel higher sensitivity biomarker that can predict lymph node metastases in NPC.