Oral cancer is one of the most prevalent malignancies and presents increasing incidence and mortality trends in the world, with a mortality rate of 14.33%. Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) constitutes 90% of all malignancies in the oral cavity. In spite of new therapeutic strategies, the risk of metastasis and mortality rate is still very high.
A total of 54 samples (18 samples of each grade) were collected from the archives of the Pathology Department of Be’sat Educational Hospital, Hamadan, Iran from 2000 to 2017. The specimens were processed for immunohistochemistry (IHC) analysis. Besides, the samples were stained with Periodic Acid-Schiff (PAS) method for vasculogenic mimicry (VM) detection.
The chi-square test showed statistically significant differences between the expression level of endocan and lesion grade in the research groups (P = 0.025), lesion grade and VM formation (P = 0.001), and tumor grade and microvessel density (MVD) count (P = 0.000).
The results suggest that endocan mediates tumor progression possibly via a few mechanisms such as cancer stem cells (CSCs), epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and VM formation. Further studies are required to reveal the mechanisms, by which the endocan acts as an oncogene. In addition, endocan could be considered as one of the tumor markers and a possible new target for cancer therapy.