Molecular identification, expression and prognostic role of estrogen- And progesterone receptors in head and neck cancer

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The aims of this study were to assess the sex hormone receptor status of head and neck (HNC) cancers. Frozen surgical samples (n=67) of HNC patients were analyzed. Protein expression of estrogen receptor (ER)α, ERβ and progesterone receptor (PgR) of tumor cells was determined by immunocytochemistry. Data were confirmed at mRNA level by nested-PCR and sequencing. ER and PgR expressions confirmed by PCR analysis were frequent in HNC: 50.7 and 49.3% respectively. Concerning the ER isoforms, ERα expression was predominant over ERβ in both of oral cavity- as well as laryngeal/hypopharyngeal (LH) cancers. The δ3 splice variant of ERα was detected at low frequency, while the δ5 splice variant of ERβ was frequent in HNC. The incidence of functional receptor expression (coexpression of ER and PgR) was relatively frequent also in HNC (27/67, 40.3%) which was independent of the anatomical location of the tumor. Sex hormone receptor expressions did not affect survival of HNC patients, however, in the LH cancer subgroup ER expression was associated with a trend of shortened survival (p=0.0636, Mantel-Cox generalized savage). ERα,β and PgR expressions are frequent in HNC and may affect the prognosis of the disease, at least in case of LH cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-160
Number of pages6
JournalInternational journal of oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2007



  • Head and neck cancer
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • PCR
  • Sex hormone receptor
  • prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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