Expression of transforming growth factor beta type II receptors in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.


Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta is a potent regulator of growth and differentiation in normal squamous epithelium. TGF-beta exerts its antiproliferative effect via the TGF-beta type II receptor (TbetaR-II). A decrease in TbetaR-II expression is believed to be responsible, in part, for the resistance of squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC) to the anti-proliferative effects of TGF-beta. In the present study, we used immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization to analyze the expression of TbetaR-II along the successive oncogenic stages of head and neck squamous neoplasia, from normal epithelium to dysplasia to carcinoma. Quantitation of TbetaR-II expression in 38 SqCCs was assessed on a visual scale ranging from negative (absence of staining) to 3+ (strong staining). Normal squamous epithelium and squamous epithelium in the vicinity of the tumors showed homogenous receptor expression with moderate intensity. Dysplastic epithelium and carcinoma in situ showed a mild decrease in receptor expression intensity. Well-differentiated to moderately differentiated carcinomas showed heterogeneous expression of variable intensity, and poorly differentiated carcinomas were completely devoid of TbetaR-II. In every tumor, the superficial component showed more intense receptor expression than the invasive component. These results indicate that TbetaR-II expression inversely correlates with disease aggressiveness and suggest that aberrant TbetaR-II expression is a contributing factor to the pathogenesis of SqCC.

  • Anderson M
  • Cordero J
  • Muro-Cacho CA
  • Muñoz-Antonia T
PubMed ID
Appears In
Clin Cancer Res, 1999, 5 (6)