Desmoglein-3/γ-catenin and E-cadherin/ß-catenin differential expression in oral leukoplakia and squamous cell carcinoma
Desmocollin 3 (Dsc3) and desmoglein 3 (Dsg3) are both transmembrane glycoproteins that belong to the cadherin family of calcium-dependent cell adhesion molecules. β-Catenin is a member of the cadherin–catenin complex that mediates homotypic cell–cell adhesion and is also an important molecule in the wnt signaling pathway. In this study, we examined the simultaneous expression level of Dsc3, Dsg3, and β-catenin in oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCCs) and normal oral epithelia using immunohistochemistry. There was a significant correlation (p < 0.05) among the following variables in OSCCs: reduced or loss of expression of Dsc3, Dsg3, and β-catenin compared to normal oral epithelium, reduced or loss of expression of Dsc3 and histological grade (moderately or poorly differentiated), and reduced or loss of expression of β-catenin and lymph node metastasis. Furthermore, a positive correlation was found between reduced or loss of β-catenin staining and reduced or loss of Dsc3 staining in lymph node metastatic cancer tissue (r = 0.734, p < 0.05). These results suggest an abnormal expression of Dsc3, Dsg3, and β-catenin induced in the progression of oral carcinomas and that the Dsc3 expression level might be related to the regulation of β-catenin in lymph node metastasis and cell proliferation in OSCCs.