Potential of uPAR, αvβ6 Integrin, and Tissue Factor as Targets for Molecular Imaging of Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Evaluation of Nine Targets in Primary Tumors and Metastases by Immunohistochemistry

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No clinically approved tumor-specific imaging agents for head and neck cancer are currently available. The identification of biomarkers with a high and homogenous expression in tumor tissue and minimal expression in normal tissue is essential for the development of new molecular imaging targets in head and neck cancer. We investigated the expression of nine imaging targets in both primary tumor and matched metastatic tissue of 41 patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) to assess their potential as targets for molecular imaging. The intensity, proportion, and homogeneity in the tumor and the reaction in neighboring non-cancerous tissue was scored. The intensity and proportion were multiplied to obtain a total immunohistochemical (IHC) score ranging from 0–12. The mean intensity in the tumor tissue and normal epithelium were compared. The expression rate was high for the urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) (97%), integrin αvβ6 (97%), and tissue factor (86%) with a median total immunostaining score (interquartile range) for primary tumors of 6 (6–9), 12 (12–12), and 6 (2.5–7.5), respectively. For the uPAR and tissue factor, the mean staining intensity score was significantly higher in tumors compared to normal epithelium. The uPAR, integrin αvβ6, and tissue factor are promising imaging targets for OSCC primary tumors, lymph node metastases, and recurrences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3853
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number4
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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© 2023 by the authors.

    Research areas

  • immunohistochemistry, integrin αvβ6, lymph node metastases, molecular imaging, oral squamous cell carcinoma, tissue factor, urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor

ID: 339632854