The 14-3-3 family is comprised of highly conserved proteins that are functionally important in the maintenance of homeostasis. Their involvement with the cell cycle, their association with proto-oncogenes and oncogenes, and their abnormal expression in various tumors has linked this family of proteins to the etiology of human cancer. Mounting evidence now indicates that 14-3-3σ is a cancer suppressor gene but the roles of the other 14-3-3 isoforms and their interactions in tumorigenesis have not yet been elucidated. In our current study, we examined the expression of 14-3-3β, γ, ε, ζ, η and τ in a large series of vulvar squamous cell carcinomas to evaluate any clinical significance.
Tumor biopsies from 298 vulvar carcinomas were examined by immunohistochemistry for the expression of 14-3-3β, γ, ε, ζ, η and τ. Statistical analyses were employed to validate any associations between the expression of any 14-3-3 isoform and clinicopathologic variables for this disease.
High cytoplasmic levels of 14-3-3β, γ, ζ, ε and η were observed in 79%, 58%, 50%, 86% and 54% of the vulvar carcinomas analyzed, respectively, whereas a low nuclear expression of 14-3-3τ was present in 80% of these cases. The elevated cytoplasmic expression of 14-3-3β, γ, ε, ζ and η was further found to be associated with advanced disease and aggressive features of these cancers. The overexpression of cytoplasmic 14-3-3β and ε significantly correlated with a poor disease-specific survival by univariate analysis (
We reveal for the first time that the 14-3-3β, γ, ε, ζ, η and τ isoforms may be involved in the progression of vulvar carcinomas. Furthermore, our analyses show that high cytoplasmic levels of 14-3-3β and ε independently correlate with poor disease-specific survival.