Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is one of the most prevalent tumour types in the head and neck region around the world. OSCC is characterized by severe progression with a high potential for both lymphatic metastasis and loco-regional invasion. However, no good biomarker has been identified to refine which subtype is of high metastatic potential to make decisions regarding the elective and therapeutic management of lymphatic metastases.
Zuoquan Xie and colleagues at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in China investigated the role of the metabolic enzyme phosphoglycerate mutase 1 (PGAM1) in OSCC. PGAM1 expression was examined in tissue samples of 122 OSCC patients using immunohistochemistry, and the correlation between clinicopathological expression and PGAM1 expression was determined. Investigators found that PGAM1 expression is correlated with age, lymphatic metastasis and tumour recurrence and is closely associated with poor overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS). Intriguingly, PGAM1 is an independent risk factor for OS and DFS. After knocking down PGAM1 in Cal27 and HN12 cells, cell migration was remarkably decreased along with signalling pathway molecules such as proto-oncogene c-SRC (SRC), Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and Paxillin. The effect on cell migration was abolished following pretreatment with an SRC inhibitor.
The findings from this study suggest that PGAM1 is a poor prognostic biomarker of OSCC and may be used to select patients of high metastatic potential in the clinic.