Nuclear Survivin as a Prognostic Factor in Squamous-Cell Carcinoma of the Oral Cavity

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Oral squamous-cell carcinoma (OSCC) and most human tumors are characterized by an imbalance of regulatory mechanisms controlling cell processes such as apoptosis. Survivin, a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis family, is overexpressed in most solid and hematological malignancies and correlates with a reduced overall survival rate. Thus, the aim of this study was to find a correlation between nuclear Survivin expression and clinicopathologic data and the prognosis in OSCC patients. A total of 152 OSCC samples were investigated by immunohistochemistry for nuclear Survivin expression. Then, Survivin was scored semiquantitatively using an immunoreactivity score (IRS), calculated by multiplying the percentage of positive cells with the staining intensity. Using a digital image analysis software, OSCC patients were stratified into 4 groups. Results showed that patients with a lower IRS score displayed better survival rates than patients with a higher IRS score, reaching statistical significance. As the expression of Survivin at the nuclear level seems to suggest a poor prognosis in OSCC patients, the evaluation of nuclear Survivin IRS may be a useful tool to identify patients with more aggressive and disseminated disease, influencing follow-up and therapeutic protocols.

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