Head and neck pathology

Acetylated tubulin (AT) as a prognostic marker in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

PMID 23881549


Acetylated tubulin (AT) expression has been proposed as a marker for sensitivity to taxane chemotherapy. We wanted to explore AT as a prognostic marker in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). We assessed AT expression in archival tissue from our institutional tissue bank of primary SCCHN specimens. We also examined AT expression on pre-therapy tissues of patients with SCCHN receiving induction chemotherapy with docetaxel, cisplatin and 5FU (TPF IC). AT expression was assessed on archival cases of SCCHN with (N = 63) and without (N = 82) locoregional lymph node metastases (LNM). The predominant tumor site was oral cavity (52 %). Immunohistochemistry staining was based on staining intensity and percentage of tumor cells stained to create a weighted index (WI). A total of nine patients who received TPF IC were evaluable for response by RECIST and also had pre-therapy tissues available. A significant independent correlation between AT and tumor grade (p = 0.001) and primary location (p = 0.008) was noted. There was a trend of higher AT in patients with presence of LNM (p = 0.052) and a trend in improved OS for patients with an AT WI below the median compared to those above the median for patients with no LNM (p = 0.054). For patients treated with induction TPF, we observed an inverse correlation between AT expression and response to TPF IC (p = 0.0071). AT expression is correlated with tumor grade and primary site. There was an observed trend correlating AT with presence nodal metastases. The observed inverse correlation with response to taxane based chemotherapy needs validation in a larger sample size.