Biomarker and Pathologic Predictors of Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma Aggressiveness

Alok R. Khandelwal, Xiaohui Ma, Paige Egan, Nadine M. Kaskas, Tara Moore-Medlin, Gloria Caldito, Fleurette Abreo, Xin Gu, Lurie Aubrey, Edward Milligan, Cherie Ann O. Nathan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective Aggressive cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) patients are at increased risk of metastasis. Currently, there are no accepted criteria or biomarkers for reliably predicting individuals at risk for recurrence and metastasis. Our objective is to determine if pS6 and pERK can predict cSCC aggressiveness and to identify primary tumor characteristics that may predict parotid metastasis. Study Design Retrospective case series. Settings Tertiary care center. Subjects and Methods An Institutional Review Board-approved retrospective review was performed for patients with facial cSCC, with and without metastasis to the parotids. Subjects for the study were identified through the Louisiana Tumor Registry, Veterans Medical Records, and LSU Health-Shreveport pathology database. Tumor specimens from patients with cSCC and cSCC with parotid metastasis were analyzed for pERK and pS6 expression through immunohistochemistry. To identify risk factors for tumor aggressiveness, multiple logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate patients with cSCC that was metastatic to the parotid and managed surgically. Results cSCC with parotid metastasis specimens exhibited significantly higher average pS6 but not pERK positivity than those from cSCC without metastasis (P <.05). Primary lesion-positive margins (P <.01), size of the skin tumor (P <.01) and degree of tumor differentiation (P <.01) were significantly associated with parotid metastasis. Conclusion Surgical history of cSCC, primary lesion-positive margins, degree of differentiation, and lesion size together with pS6 positivity appear to be predictors of cSCC aggressiveness and should prompt increased monitoring or elective parotidectomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-288
Number of pages8
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • biomarker
  • cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma
  • pERK
  • ps6


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