Analysis of the Epithelium-Mesenchymal Transition Process on Oral Squamous Cell Carcinomas

Abstract The aim of this study is to evaluate the immunohistochemical expression of E-cadherin, N-cadherin and Bmi-1, and their association with clinical parameters and with the degree of histopathological differentiation in oral squamous cell carcinomas. 65 squamous cell carcinoma samples were used for constructing a tissue microarray block, and then immunohistochemistry was performed for different markers. A semi-quantitative analysis of the amount of positive tumor cells was performed by two blind and calibrated observers (Kappa>0.75). The statistical Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to evaluate the data. The correlation between variables was investigated by the Spearman test, and the significance level set at p<0.05. We observed higher expression of Bmi-1 in tumors located in the palate (p<0.0001). In addition, poorly differentiated tumors had a greater amount of Bmi-1 positive cells (p=0.0011). Regarding the other correlations between variables, no significant associations were detected. In conclusion, poorly differentiated squamous cell carcinomas located in the palate have higher immunostaining of Bmi-1, which can characterize activation of the Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition process in these tumors.