Recurrent copy number gain of transcription factor SOX2 and corresponding high protein expression in oral squamous cell carcinoma.
Gene copy number aberrations are involved in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) development. To delineate candidate genes inside critical chromosomal regions, array-CGH was applied to 40 OSCC specimens using a microarray covering the whole human genome with an average resolution of 1 Mb. Gene copy number gains were predominantly found at 1q23 (9 cases), 3q26 (11), 5p15 (13), 7p11 (7), 8q24 (17), 11q13 (15), 14q32 (8), 19p13 (8), 19q12 (7), 19q13 (8), and 20q13 (9), whereas gene copy number losses were detected at 3p21-3p12 (15), 8p32 (11), 10p12 (8), and 18q21-q23 (10). Subsequent mRNA expression analyses by quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction found high mRNA expression of candidate genes SOX2 in 3q26.33, FSLT3 in 19p13.3, and CCNE1 in 19q12. Tissue microarray (TMA) analyses in a representative OSCC collection found gene copy number gain for SOX2 in 52% (115/223) and for CCNE1 in 31% (72/233) of the tumors. Immunohistochemical analyses on TMA sections of the corresponding proteins detected high expression of SOX2 in 18.1% (49/271) and of CyclinE1 in 23.3% (64/275) of tumors analyzed. These findings indicate that SOX2 and CCNE1 might be activated via gene copy number gain and participate in oral carcinogenesis. The combination of array-CGH with TMA analyses allows rapid pinpointing of novel promising candidate genes, which might be used as therapeutic stratification markers or target molecules for therapeutic interference.