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Protein Marker for Metastasis in Head and Neck Cancer

Last Updated: August 12, 2009.

Expression of the hypoxia-related protein lysyl oxidase is a marker for metastasis in head and neck cancer, according to a study published online Aug. 10 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Expression of the hypoxia-related protein lysyl oxidase (LOX) is a marker for metastasis in head and neck cancer, according to a study published online Aug. 10 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Quynh-Thu Le, M.D., of Stanford University in California, and colleagues conducted immunohistochemical staining and automated quantitative analysis (AQUA) of LOX expression in 66 head and neck cancer patients who sought treatment at Stanford University as well as 306 head and neck cancer patients in the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group phase III trial (RTOG 90-03). The researchers correlated LOX expression with time to metastasis, time to progression, and overall survival.

The researchers found LOX expression to be an independent predictor for time to metastasis (hazard ratio, 1.21), time to progression (hazard ratio, 1.06), and overall survival (hazard ratio, 1.04). For a patient at the seventy-fifth percentile for LOX expression, the researchers calculated a 259 percent increase in metastasis risk compared to a patient at the twenty-fifth percentile.

"AQUA LOX expression was strongly associated with increased metastasis, progression, and death in RTOG 90-03 patients. This study validates that LOX is a marker for metastasis and survival in head and neck cancer," the authors write.

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