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Margaret Mead
Research Article

Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 Receptor (IGF1R) Expression and Survival in Operable Squamous-Cell Laryngeal Cancer


Introduction Prognosis of patients with operable laryngeal cancer is highly variable and therefore potent prognostic biomarkers are warranted. The insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGFR) signaling pathway plays a critical role in laryngeal carcinogenesis and progression. Patients and Methods We identified all patients with localized TNM stage I–III laryngeal cancer managed with potentially curative surgery between 1985 and 2008. Immunohistochemical (IHC) expression of IGF1R-alpha, IGF1R-beta and IGF2R was evaluated using the immunoreactive score (IRS) and mRNA levels of important effectors of the IGFR pathway were assessed, including IGF1R, IGF-binding protein 3 (IGFBP3), suppressor of cytokine signaling 2 (SOCS2) and members of the MAP-kinase (MAP2K1, MAPK9) and phosphatidyl-inositol-3 kinase (PIK3CA, PIK3R1) families. Cox-regression models were applied to assess the predictive value of biomarkers on disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS). Results Among 289 eligible patients, 95.2% were current or ex smokers, 75.4% were alcohol abusers, 15.6% had node-positive disease and 32.2% had received post-operative irradiation. After a median follow-up of 74.5 months, median DFS was 94.5 months and median OS was 106.3 months. Using the median IRS as the pre-defined cut-off, patients whose tumors had increased IGF1R-alpha cytoplasm or membrane expression experienced marginally shorter DFS and significantly shorter OS compared to those whose tumors had low IGF1R-alpha expression (91.1 vs 106.2 months, p = 0.0538 and 100.3 vs 118.6 months, p = 0.0157, respectively). Increased mRNA levels of MAPK9 were associated with prolonged DFS (p = 0.0655) and OS (p = 0.0344). In multivariate analysis, IGF1R-alpha overexpression was associated with a 46.6% increase in the probability for relapse (p = 0.0374). Independent predictors for poor OS included node-positive disease (HR = 2.569, p<0.0001), subglottic/transglottic localization (HR = 1.756, p = 0.0438) and IGF1R-alpha protein overexpression (HR = 1.475, p = 0.0504). Conclusion IGF1R-alpha protein overexpression may serve as an independent predictor of relapse and survival in operable laryngeal cancer. Prospective evaluation of the IGF1R-alpha prognostic utility is warranted.