The purpose of this research was to identify biomarkers for predicting cervical lymph node metastasis in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). We surveyed the expressions of 1289 cancer-related genes in 41 cases of OSCC by cDNA array analysis. We extracted genes upregulated or downregulated in their expression in association with lymph node metastasis. Of 1289 cancer-related genes, we identified 39 genes differentially expressed in OSCC with or without lymph node metastasis. Expression levels of 9 genes were lower, and those of 30 genes were higher, in node-positive cases. The genes expressed at higher levels in node-positive cases included angiogenesis-related molecules, cell adhesion molecules, and proteolytic enzymes. We suggest that these characteristic genes could provide, if verifiable, useful information for predicting the risk of lymph node metastasis in OSCC.
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