Expression of ABCG2 and Bmi-1 in oral potentially malignant lesions and oral squamous cell carcinoma

Andrew J. Dalley, Luke P. Pitty, Aidan G. Major, Ahmad A. Abdulmajeed, Camile S. Farah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Early diagnosis is vital for effective treatment of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). The optimal time for clinical intervention is prior to malignancy when patients present with oral potentially malignant lesions such as leukoplakia or erythroplakia. Transformation rates for oral dysplasia vary greatly and more rigorous methods are needed to predict the malignant potential of oral lesions. We hypothesized that the expression of two putative stem cell markers, ABCG2 and Bmi-1, would correlate with disease severity for non diseased, potentially malignant and OSCC specimens and cell lines derived from an equivalent range of tissues. We compared immunoreactive protein and relative gene expression of ABCG2 and Bmi-1 in eight cell lines derived from source tissues ranging in disease severity from normal (OKF6-TERT2) through mild and moderate/severe dysplasia (DOK, POE-9n) to OSCC (PE/CA-PJ15, SCC04, SCC25, SCC09, SCC15). We also analyzed immunoreactive protein expression of ABCG2 and Bmi-1 in 189 tissue samples with the same range of disease severity. A trend between oral lesion severity to ABCG2 and Bmi-1 immunostain intensity was observed. Flow cytometry of oral cell lines confirmed this trend and gave good correlation with RT-PCR results for ABCG2 (r = 0.919, P = 0.001; Pearson) but not Bmi-1 (r = -0.311). The results provide evidence of increased density of ABCG2 and Bmi-1-positive populations in malignant and oral potentially malignant lesions and derived cell lines, but that intragroup variability within IHC, flow cytometry, and RT-PCR results compromise the diagnostic potential of these techniques for discriminating oral dysplasia from normal tissue or OSCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-283
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


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