HES1 mRNA expression is associated with survival in sinonasal squamous cell carcinoma

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In squamous cell carcinoma of the pharynx and larynx, NOTCH1 downstream signaling has been shown to be activated. The NOTCH1 signaling pathway has not been examined in detail for sinonasal squamous cell carcinomas (SNSCCs). The aim of this study was to evaluate NOTCH1 signaling by mRNA expression analysis and to examine the occurrence of NOTCH1 mutations in SNSCC.

Study Design.

In a retrospective study, we analyzed tissues from 44 SNSCCs and 56 head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) at other locations. Expression of NOTCH1, NOTCH3, HES1, HEY1, and JAG1 mRNA were measured by using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (q-rtPCR). In SNSCC, NOTCH1 mutations were evaluated with sequencing of seven selected exons.


Expression of NOTCH1, HEY1, and JAG1 at the mRNA level were significantly higher in tumor tissue compared with normal tissue. In SNSCC, the subgroup of patients with high expression (5th quintile) of HES1 mRNA was associated with better survival (P = .04); however these patients with high expression of HES1 mRNA had also a more favorable tumor stage and grade and more unfavorable resections representing potential confounders.


Key components of NOTCH1 are upregulated at the mRNA level in HNSCCs. The mechanism, clinical significance, and potential therapeutic options should therefore be further evaluated.

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