S100A14 protein as predictor of survival for oral cancer patients

Our previous studies showed that higher levels of S100A14 reduces proliferation and motility/invasion (tumor suppressive function) of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) cells. In this study, using OSCC biopsies from Norway and Nepal, we aimed to examine whether the level of S100A14 protein can predict aggressiveness of OSCC and thereby survival of OSCC patients.

Potential use of S100A14 in predicting aggressiveness of oral cancer.

Potential use of S100A14 in predicting aggressiveness of oral cancer. Photo: Dipak Sapkota, IOB/UIO

Oral squamous cell carcinoma (a major subtype of oral cancer) is an aggressive disease.  Approximately 50% of patients with OSCC die within 5 years even after treatment. Treatment procedures for OSCC (most commonly surgery and radiotherapy) are aggressive and lead to a number of side effects such as disfiguration, psychological problems, impairment of speech and chewing, and dry mouth. In this context, identification of biomarkers (such as protein molecules) that can identify patients based on the aggressiveness of OSCC would be extremely beneficial for stratification of patients and selection of appropriate therapy. For many years, our research group has been interested to understand the role of S100 protein family in OSCC development and to investigate their potential use in predicting the progression of disease in OSCC patients. In this study, we focused on S100A14 member of the S100 protein family. Using OSCC biopsy specimens from Nepal and Norway, we found that OSCC patients with higher amount of S100A14 protein at the most aggressive part of tumor (also called tumor invasive front) had a higher chance to survive for 10 years as compared to the OSCC with low level of S100A14. In addition, using experiments on oral cancer cells and analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data for oral cancers, we found that S100A14 has a potential to change the behavior of oral cancer cells to a less aggressive phenotype. With further validation, S100A14 could be useful in future to identify patients that do not need very aggressive treatment.

The current work involves collaboration between the University of Oslo, University Bergen, UiT The Arctic university of Norway, and B. P. Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital, Nepal.


Pandey S, Osman TA, Sharma S, Vallenari EM, Shahdadfar A, Pun CB, Gautam DK, Uhlin-Hansen L, Rikardsen O, Johannessen AC, Costea DE, Sapkota D. Loss of S100A14 expression at the tumor-invading front correlates with poor differentiation and worse prognosis in oral squamous cell carcinoma. Published in Head and Neck Journal 


Published May 26, 2020 12:49 PM - Last modified Sep. 21, 2020 12:31 PM