Nucleostemin upregulation and STAT3 activation as early events in oral epithelial dysplasia progression to squamous cell carcinoma. Academic Article uri icon


  • Most low-grade oral epithelial dysplasia remains static or regress, but a significant minority of them (4-11%) advances to oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) within a few years. To monitor the progression of epithelial dysplasia for early cancer detection, we investigated the expression profiles of nucleostemin (NS) and phospho-STAT3 (p-STAT3) in rodent and human samples of dysplasia and OSCCs. In a 4NQO-induced rat oral carcinogenesis model, the number and distribution of NS and p-STAT3-positive cells increased in hyperplastic, dysplastic, and neoplastic lesions compared to normal epithelium. In human samples, the NS signal significantly increased in high-grade dysplasia and poorly differentiated OSCC, whereas p-STAT3 was more ubiquitously expressed than NS and showed increased intensity in high-grade dysplasia and both well and poorly differentiated OSCC. Analyses of human dysplastic samples with longitudinally followed outcomes revealed that cells with prominent nucleolar NS signals were more abundant in low-grade dysplasia that advanced to OSCC in 2 or 3 years than those remaining static for 7-14 years. These results suggest that NS upregulation and STAT3 activation are early events in the progression of low-grade dysplasia to OSCC.

published proceedings

  • Neoplasia

author list (cited authors)

  • Crawford, M., Liu, X., Cheng, Y., & Tsai, R. Y.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Crawford, Madeleine||Liu, Xiaoqin||Cheng, Yi-Shing L||Tsai, Robert Yl

publication date

  • December 2021