Expression and role of the embryonic protein SOX2 in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Andreas Schröck, Maike Bode, Friederike Johanna Maria Göke, Petra Marion Bareiss, Rebekka Schairer, Hui Wang, Alina Franzen, Robert Kirsten, Tobias van Bremen, Angela Queisser, Glen Kristiansen, Lynn Heasley, Friedrich Bootz, Claudia Lengerke, Sven Perner*

*Korrespondierende/r Autor/-in für diese Arbeit
29 Zitate (Scopus)


Recently, SOX2 has been identified as a potential lineage specific oncogene in lung squamous cell carcinomas (LSCC). Since head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) are morphologically and clinically highly related to LSCC, we hypothesized that SOX2 also plays an oncogenic role in this tumor entity. We assembled a cohort of 496 patients with HNSCC, including 253 metastases and 135 recurrences. SOX2 amplification (FISH) and SOX2 protein expression (IHC) were correlated with molecular and clinico-pathological parameters. In order to investigate the functional role of SOX2 in human HNSCC, SOX2 knockdown and overexpression in SCC25 cells were generated by lentiviral constructs and subjected to cell cycle analysis, proliferation and apoptosis assays. Furthermore, SOX2 expression was correlated with the expression of proliferation and apoptosis related proteins in primary HNSCC samples. SOX2 amplification was detected in 21% of primary HNSCC and mostly observed in a concordant manner between primary tumors and corresponding metastatic tissues. Overall, SOX2 amplification resulted in protein overexpression and was mutually exclusive with HPV infection. SOX2 protein overexpression was associated with clinico-pathological parameters of worse outcome. Functionally, SOX2 induced the expression of the anti-apoptotic protein BCL-2 and enhanced resistance to apoptosis-inducing agents including cisplatin, indicating SOX2 as a mediator of therapy resistance in human HNSCC. Targeting SOX2 and related molecular downstream pathways such as BCL-2 may enhance therapy efficacy in SOX2 expressing HNSCC.

PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 01.01.2014


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