Patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) continue to have a rather poor prognosis. Treatment-related comorbidities have negative impacts on their quality of life. TRIM21 is a cytosolic E3 ubiquitin ligase that was initially described as an autoantigen in autoimmune diseases and later associated with the intracellular antiviral response. Here, we investigated the role of TRIM21 as a biomarker candidate for HNSCC in predicting tumor progression and patient survival. We analyzed TRIM21 expression and its association with clinical-pathological parameters in our HNSCC cohort using immunohistochemistry. Our HNSCC cohort included samples from 419 patients consisting of primary tumors (n = 337), lymph node metastases (n = 156), recurrent tumors (n = 54) and distant metastases (n = 16). We found that cytoplasmic TRIM21 expression was associated with the infiltration of immune cells into primary tumors. In addition, TRIM21 expression was significantly higher in primary tumors than in lymph node metastases, and increased TRIM21 expression was correlated with shorter progression-free survival in HNSCC patients. These results suggest that TRIM21 could be a new biomarker for progression-free survival.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5140
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)5140
Publication statusPublished - 03.2023

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)
  • Centers: University Cancer Center Schleswig-Holstein (UCCSH)


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