Immunohistochemical evaluation of the expression of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition markers E/N-cadherin and SNAIL/SLUG on the sequence dysplastic epithelium - oral squamous cell carcinoma - lymph node metastasis.
Oral squamous cell carcinoma is an aggressive malignant neoplasm with low survival rates and may be preceded by pre-malignant lesions, such as leukoplakia and eritroplakia. Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), an important event in embryogenesis and wound healing, is the process by which cells loose their epithelial characteristics and acquire a phenotype similar to the mesenchymal cells. Recent studies have revealed the activation of the EMT program in epithelial malignant neoplasms, which can lead to tumor progression, invasion and metastasis. EMT is mediated by transcription factors such as SNAIL and TWIST that promote negative regulation of epithelial markers such as E-cadherin and the positive regulation of mesenchymal markers, including N-cadherin. This study aims to investigate the immunoexpression of E/N-cadherin as well as SNAIL/SLUG in different stages of carcinogenesis, in comparison with control tissues. Then, the main purpose is to identify reliable biomarkers that might predict the potential of malignant transformation and tumor behavior, specially related to the presence of metastasis, which is still obscure for oral squamous cell carcinoma.
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