BACKGROUND: To investigate the possible role of FHIT, a possible tumour suppressor gene, in oral carcinogenesis, we examined 17 oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCCs) for genetic alterations. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Fresh tissue was obtained during surgery, snap-frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored at -70 degrees C. Nested PCR amplification to examine the integrity of FHIT mRNA was performed on the reverse transcribed complementary DNA obtained from the frozen normal and tumour tissue. Immunohistochemistry was done on formal in-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue protein from the same cases using a polyclonal antiserum against the full length FHIT. RESULTS: Twelve out of 17 (71%) OSCCs showed reduced or absent FHIT protein and half of the cases with reduced FHIT protein exhibited aberrant RT-PCR products. CONCLUSION: Immunohistochemical detection of FHIT protein expression in OSCCs is the more sensitive method to determine the status of FHIT in these tumours, in agreement with previous studies of other tumour types.
This article was co-written by Prof Janse van Rensburg before she joined the University of Pretoria.