TESTIN May Have Role in Head and Neck Cancer Survival

-- Jane Parry

Friday, March 20, 2009

FRIDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- Inactivation of the TESTIN gene may play a role in the survival odds of patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, researchers report in the March issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery.

Esra Gunduz, D.D.S., Ph.D., of Okayama University in Okayama, Japan, and colleagues conducted a study of 38 patients with primary head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, and analyzed both normal and tumor samples for TESTIN gene mRNA expression analysis.

There was a nucleotide and amino acid change in six of the 38 tumor samples (16 percent), and decreased TESTIN expression in half of the tumors versus their matched controls, the researchers found. Downregulation of TESTIN was associated with family history of cancer and a higher smoking ratio, although this did not reach a level of statistical significance, the authors report. A survival analysis revealed a worse survival rate among patients with low TESTIN expression than those with high TESTIN expression.

"Downregulation of TESTIN mRNA suggests that it may function as a tumor suppressor in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, and that its inactivation leads to cancer development," the authors write. "Further studies in various human cancer tissues using a larger sample size and in vitro functional studies as well as clinical comparison research studies would give us a better evaluation of TESTIN's role along with its possible future applications in molecular diagnosis and treatment of different cancer types, including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma."

Gunduz received a research grant from AstraZeneca.

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