Impact of epidermal growth factor receptor, mesenchymal–epithelial transition factor, and insulin-like growth factor receptor 1 expression on survival of patients with oral and oropharyngeal cancer

Published:August 13, 2012DOI:


      The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), mesenchymal–epithelial transition factor (c-Met), and insulin-like growth factor receptor 1 (IGF-1R) protein on response to treatment and survival in patients with oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). EGFR, c-Met, and IGF-1R immunohistochemical (IHC) scores were generated based on the incidence and intensity of expression of the biomarkers evaluated in paraffin-embedded sections of biopsy specimens taken before treatment from 113 patients given neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy followed by resection for primary locally advanced oral and oropharyngeal SCC. Correlations were assessed between the IHC of the biomarkers and the patients’ clinicopathological variables using Spearman's rank test. Cox's regression models were used to evaluate the impact of EGFR, c-Met, and IGF-1R, expression on survival.
      Almost all the patients showed expression of EGFR, c-Met, and IGF-1R (99%, 100%, and 100%, respectively). None of the biomarkers examined predicted response to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy or were associated with survival. In multivariate analysis, age (p = 0.05), alcohol consumption (p = 0.03), and pathological size/extent of the primary tumour after neoadjuvant treatment (ypT) status (p = 0.009) were significantly associated with recurrence-free survival. Age (p = 0.02) and alcohol consumption (p = 0.02) were independently associated with overall survival. Although none of the biomarkers evaluated could be used as prognostic indicators, their common expression suggested a strong rationale for targeting EGFR, c-Met, and IGF-1R in the treatment of oral and oropharyngeal SCC.


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