Cyclin B1 overexpression and resistance to radiotherapy in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Khaled A. Hassan, K. Kian Ang, Adel K. El-Naggar, Michael D. Story, Janet I. Lee, Diane Liu, Waun K. Hong, Li Mao

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93 Scopus citations


Radiotherapy (RT) and surgery are the cornerstones in treating head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). RT is effective in the initial treatment of early to intermediate stage HNSCC but less effective for locally advanced disease, some cases of which are best managed using the combination of surgery and RT. Although various clinical/pathologic parameters have been used to classify patients according to their likelihood of responding to RT, they have generally low predictive value. We have shown previously that cyclin B1 is associated with a poor clinical outcome in HNSCC patients. In this study, we investigate the potential role of cyclin B1 in assessing RT response in patients with HNSCC. Tumor specimens obtained from 80 patients participated in a prospective Phase III clinical trial addressing the dose and fractionation regimen of postoperative RT were analyzed for cyclin B1 expression by immunohistochemistry. Patients were classified according to currently accepted clinical/pathologic parameters into three risk groups, i.e., low, intermediate, and high risk, and received surgery alone, surgery plus intermediate-dose RT, and surgery plus high-dose RT, respectively. The median follow-up duration was 4.9 years. Cyclin B1 overexpression was noted in 38 of the 80 (47%) HNSCC tumors. Interestingly, 11 of the 38 patients (29%) with cyclin B1-overexpressing tumors experienced local or nodal recurrence compared with only 3 of 42 patients (7%) having carcinomas with no or weak cyclin B1 expression (P = 0.01). When locoregional control was used as the end point for the high-risk group, patients whose tumors showed cyclin B1 overexpression had a statistically significant higher tumor recurrence and metastasis compared with patients whose tumors showed no cyclin B1 overexpression (P = 0.01). Our results indicate that tumors overexpressing cyclin B1 may be resistant to RT, and cyclin B1 may be an indicator of the risk of locoregional recurrence and metastasis in patients having HNSCC receiving RT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6414-6417
Number of pages4
JournalCancer research
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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