Immunodetection of GLUT1, p63 and phospho-histone H1 in invasive head and neck squamous carcinoma: Correlation of immunohistochemical staining patterns with keratinization

D. E. Burstein, C. Nagi, D. S. Kohtz, L. Lee, B. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Aims: To examine invasive head and neck squamous carcinomas for expression of GLUT1, a glucose transporter and marker of increased glucose uptake, glycolytic metabolism and response to tissue hypoxia; p63, a p53 homologue that is a marker of the undifferentiated proliferative basaloid phenotype; and phospho-histone H1, a marker of activation of the cell cycle-promoting cyclin-dependent kinases 1 and 2. Methods: Routinely processed slides from 34 invasive squamous carcinomas, including 25 with intraepithelial components, were immunostained with anti-GLUT1 (Chemicon), anti-p63 (4A4, Santa Cruz), and antiphospho-histone H1 (monoclonal 12D11). Results: In keratinizing carcinomas, all three markers were most commonly immunodetected peripherally, with loss of expression in central keratinized zones. In contrast, in non-keratinizing carcinomas, p63 and phospho-histone H1 expression was most commonly observed throughout tumour nests and anti-GLUT1 stained in a pattern suggestive of hypoxia-induced expression ('antistromal' staining), in which cells at the tumour-stromal interface were GLUT1- and cells in central, perinecrotic zones showed progressive induction of GLUT1. Intraepithelial components also displayed basal and 'antibasal' GLUT1 staining patterns, homologous to the pro- and antistromal patterns in invasive carcinoma; basal patterns in intraepithelial lesions appeared to be more predictive of keratinizing invasive carcinoma and antibasal intraepithelial staining more predictive of non-keratinizing poorly differentiated carcinomas. Conclusions: Keratinizing and non-keratinizing squamous carcinomas differ in expression patterns of GLUT1, p63 and phospho-histone H1. In the former, all three markers were typically suppressed in conjunction with keratinization; in the latter, GLUT1 expression was more likely to occur in a hypoxia-inducible pattern and expression of p63 and phospho-histone H1 was unsuppressed. GLUT1 expression patterns in intraepithelial lesions may be predictive of the differentiation status of the associated invasive carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-722
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 2006


  • GLUT1 histone H1
  • Phosphorylation-specific antibodies
  • Squamous carcinoma
  • Squamous intraepithelial neoplasia
  • p63


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