Background: Induction chemotherapy is a common therapeutic option for patients with locoregionally-advanced head and neck cancer (HNC), but it remains unclear which patients will benefit. In this study, we searched for biomarkers predicting the response of patients with locoregionally-advanced HNC to induction chemotherapy by evaluating the expression pattern of DNA repair proteins. Methods: Expression of a panel of DNA-repair proteins in formalin-fixed paraffin embedded specimens from a cohort of 37 HNC patients undergoing platinum-based induction chemotherapy prior to definitive chemoradiation were analyzed using quantitative immunohistochemistry. Results: We found that XPF (an ERCC1 binding partner) and phospho-MAPKAP Kinase 2 (pMK2) are novel biomarkers for HNSCC patients undergoing platinum-based induction chemotherapy. Low XPF expression in HNSCC patients is associated with better response to induction chemoradiotherapy, while high XPF expression correlates with a worse response (p = 0.02). Furthermore, low pMK2 expression was found to correlate significantly with overall survival after induction plus chemoradiation therapy (p = 0.01), suggesting that pMK2 may relate to chemoradiation therapy. Conclusions: We identified XPF and pMK2 as novel DNA-repair biomarkers for locoregionally-advanced HNC patients undergoing platinum-based induction chemotherapy prior to definitive chemoradiation. Our study provides insights for the use of DNA repair biomarkers in personalized diagnostics strategies. Further validation in a larger cohort is indicated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)