Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is one of the most dangerous cancers in the body, producing serious complications with individual behaviors. Many different pathogenetic factors are involved in the carcinogenesis of OSCC. Cancer cells derived from oral keratinocytes can produce different carcinogenic signaling pathways through differences in protein expression, but their protein expression profiles cannot be easily explored with ordinary detection methods.
The present study compared the protein expression profiles between two different types of OSCCs, which were analyzed through immunoprecipitation high-performance liquid chromatography (IP-HPLC).
Two types of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) occurred in a mandibular (SCC-1) and maxillary gingiva (SCC-2), but their clinical features and progression were quite different from each other. SCC-1 showed a large gingival ulceration with severe halitosis and extensive bony destruction, while SCC-2 showed a relatively small papillary gingival swelling but rapidly grew to form a large submucosal mass, followed by early cervical lymph node metastasis. In the histological observation, SCC-1 was relatively well differentiated with a severe inflammatory reaction, while SCC-2 showed severely infiltrative growth of each cancer islets accompanied with a mild inflammatory reaction. IP-HPLC analysis revealed contrary protein expression profiles analyzed by 72 different oncogenic proteins. SCC-1 showed more cellular apoptosis and invasive growth than SCC-2 through increased expression of caspases, MMPs, p53 signaling, FAS signaling, TGF-β1 signaling, and angiogenesis factors, while SCC-2 showed more cellular growth and survival than SCC-1 through the increased expression of proliferating factors, RAS signaling, eIF5A signaling, WNT signaling, and survivin.
The increased trends of cellular apoptosis and invasiveness in the protein expression profiles of SCC-1 were implicative of its extensive gingival ulceration and bony destruction, while the increased trends of cellular proliferation and survival in the protein profile of SCC-2 were implicative of its rapid growing tumor mass and early lymph node metastasis. These analyses of the essential oncogenic protein expression profiles in OSCC provide important information for genetic counseling or customized gene therapy in cancer treatment. Therefore, protein expression profile analysis through IP-HPLC is helpful not only for the molecular genetic diagnosis of cancer but also in identifying target molecules for customized gene therapy in near future.