Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in penile squamous cell carcinoma

Emili Masferrer, Carla Ferrándiz-Pulido, Magalí Masferrer-Niubò, Alfredo Rodríguez-Rodríguez, Inmaculada Gil, Antoni Pont, Octavi Servitje, Antonio García De Herreros, Belen Lloveras, Vicenç García-Patos, Ramon M. Pujol, Agustí Toll, Inmaculada Hernández-Muñoz

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12 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 American Urological Association Education and Research, Inc. Purpose Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition is a phenomenon in epithelial tumors that involves loss of intercellular adhesion, mesenchymal phenotype acquisition and enhanced migratory potential. While the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition process has been extensively linked to metastatic progression of squamous cell carcinoma, studies of the role of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in squamous cell carcinoma containing high risk human papillomaviruses are scarce. Moreover, to our knowledge epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition involvement in human penile squamous cell carcinoma, which can arise through transforming HPV infections or independently of HPV, has not been investigated. We evaluated the presence of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition markers and their relationship to HPV in penile squamous cell carcinoma. Materials and Methods We assessed the expression of E-cadherin, vimentin and the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition related transcription factors Twist, Zeb1 and Snail by immunohistochemical staining in 64 penile squamous cell carcinoma cases. HPV was detected by polymerase chain reaction amplification. Results Simultaneous loss of membranous E-cadherin expression and vimentin over expression were noted in 43.5% of penile squamous cell carcinoma cases. HPV was significantly associated with loss of membranous E-cadherin but not with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Recurrence and mortality rates were significantly higher in cases showing epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Conclusions Our findings indicate that in penile squamous cell carcinoma epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition is associated with poor prognosis but not with the presence of HPV.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-705
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • carcinoma, squamous cell
  • epithelial-mesenchymal transition
  • human papillomavirus DNA tests
  • penis
  • tumor markers, biological


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