Research Papers:

Expression of CK19 is an independent predictor of negative outcome for patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue

Jutta Ernst, Kristian Ikenberg, Barbara Apel, Desiree M. Schumann, Gerhard Huber, Gabriela Studer, Tamara Rordorf, Oliver Riesterer, Matthias Rössle, Dimitri Korol and Marius G. Bredell _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:76151-76158. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.12691

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Jutta Ernst1,*, Kristian Ikenberg2,*, Barbara Apel2, Desiree M. Schumann1, Gerhard Huber3, Gabriela Studer4, Tamara Rordorf5, Oliver Riesterer4, Matthias Rössle6, Dimitri Korol7, Marius G. Bredell1

1Department of Cranio-, Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery, University Hospital Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland

2Department of Pathology, University Hospital Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland

3Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University Hospital Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland

4Department of Radiation Oncology, University Hospital Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland

5Department of Oncology, University Hospital Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland

6Department of Pathology, Cantonal Hospital Chur, Chur, Switzerland

7Cancer Registry Zurich and Zug, University Hospital Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Marius G. Bredell, email: [email protected]

Keywords: tongue cancer, cytokeratin 19 (CK19), Ki-67, head and neck cancer (HNC)

Received: May 04, 2016     Accepted: September 12, 2016     Published: October 15, 2016


Objectives: To explore the prognostic role of CK19 expression in squamous cell carcinomas within a well-defined cohort of oral tongue cancer patients.

Methods: In our retrospective study, we investigated 129 patients with tongue cancer that had suitable material for inclusion in a tissue microarray (TMA). Where possible, samples were taken from central and peripheral regions of the tumor to generate a representative sample of the tumor. The expression level of CK19 was assessed by immunohistochemical staining.

Results: Expression of CK19 in squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue was identified as a negative predictor for overall survival (OS; p<0.000) and disease specific survival (DSS; p=0.001). No significant difference could be shown for disease free survival (DFS) between patients with positive and negative CK19 staining (p=.094).

Conclusion: This is the first description of the highly significant role of CK19 in a selective, organ specific head and neck cancer cohort. Our results are of special importance against the background that CK19 positive carcinomas revealed a significantly poorer prognosis and therefore emphasize its prognostic and possible diagnostic role in tongue cancer.

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