Focal adhesion kinase overexpression: Correlation with lymph node metastasis and shorter survival in oral squamous cell carcinoma

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Background.Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) has been identified as a key mediator in tumor progression. The objective of this study was to determine the role of FAK as a predictor of neck node metastasis and poor prognosis in oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCCs).Methods.FAK expression in normal oral mucosa and in 69 OSCCs was examined by immunohistochemistry, and the percentage of stained cells was recorded. The correlation of these findings with clinicopathologic variables and survival was studied.Results.FAK expression in OSCCs was heterogeneous: 33.3% of cases showed weak expression; 23.2%, moderate expression, and 33.3% cases showed high expression. FAK expression significantly correlated with tumor size (p= .010), neck node metastasis (p= .01), and local tumor recurrence (p= .01). FAK expression was an independent prognostic factor in the survival analysis (p= .017).Conclusions.Increased expression of FAK may play a role in invasiveness and metastasis of OSCCs, which contribute to poor prognosis and low survival. Head Neck, 2012

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