Purpose: Centromere protein H (CENP-H) and Ki67 are overexpressed in some malignancies, but whether they are predictors of survival after primary resection for hypopharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (HSCC) remains unknown.
Methods: We assessed immunohistochemical expression of CENP-H and Ki67 in 112 HSCC specimens collected between March 2003 and March 2005 for analysis by clinical characteristics. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to analyze relapse-free survival and logistic multivariate regression to determine risk factors of relapse-free survival. Cholecystokinin octapeptide assays and flow cytometry were used to examine cell proliferation and apoptosis after siRNA inhibition of CENP-H in HSCC cells.
Results: Overall, 50 (44.6%) HSCC specimens showed upregulated CENP-H expression and 69 (61.6%) upregulated Ki67. An increased CENP-H protein level was associated with advanced cancer stage and alcohol history (P=0.012 and P=0.048, respectively) but an increased Ki67 protein level only with advanced cancer stage (P=0.021). Increased CENP-H or Ki67 were associated with short relapse-free survival (P<0.001 or P=0.009, respectively) and were independent predictors of relapse-free survival (P=0.001 and P=0.018, respectively). siRNA knockdown of CENP-H mRNA inhibited cell proliferation and promoted cancer cell apoptosis in vitro.
Conclusions: Upregulated CENP-H and Ki67 levels are significantly associated with short relapse-free survival in HSCC. These factors may be predictors of a relapsing phenotype in HSSC cases.