Pemphigus vulgaris antigen mRNA quantification for the staging of sentinel lymph nodes in head and neck cancer

J. Solassol, V. Burcia, V. Costes, J. Lacombe, A. Mange, E. Barbotte, D. De Verbizier, C. Cartier, M. Makeieff, L. Crampette, N. Boulle, T. Maudelonde, B. Guerrier, R. Garrel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Molecular diagnosis has been proposed to enhance the intra-operative diagnosis of sentinel lymph node (SLN) invasion in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Although cytokeratin (CK) mRNA quantification with real-time reverse transcriptase-PCR (QRT-PCR) has produced encouraging results, the more discriminating markers remain to be identified.Methods: Pemphigus vulgaris antigen (PVA), squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCCA), and CK17 mRNA were quantified using QRT-PCR, and the results were compared with an extensive histopathological examination of the entire SLNs on 78 SLNs harvested from 22 patients with HNSCC.Results: SCCA and CK17 quantification showed significantly higher mRNA values for macrometastases (MAs) than for either negative or isolated tumour cell (ITC) SLNs (P<0.01). Pemphigus vulgaris antigen allowed the discrimination of all MAs and micrometastases from both negative and ITC SLNs (P<0.001). For the neck staging of patients, considering metastatic vs non-metastatic status, receiver-operating characteristic curve analysis found areas under the curve of 93.8, 97.9, and 100% for CK17, SCCA, and PVA, respectively. With PVA, a cutoff value of 562 copies per 100 ng of cDNA permitted the correct distinction between patients with positive as opposed to negative neck nodes in all cases.Conclusion: PVA seems to be a highly promising marker for accurate intra-operative SLN staging in HNSCC by QRT-PCR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-187
Number of pages7
JournalBritish journal of cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Diagnostic accuracy
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Pemphigus vulgaris antigen
  • Sentinel lymph nodes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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