Selective participation of c-Jun with Fra-2/c-Fos promotes aggressive tumor phenotypes and poor prognosis in tongue cancer

Tongue squamous cell carcinoma (TSCC) is most aggressive head and neck cancer often associated with HR-HPV infection. The role of AP-1 which is an essential regulator of HPV oncogene expression and tumorigenesis is not reported in tongue cancer. One hundred tongue tissue biopsies comprising precancer, cancer and adjacent controls including two tongue cancer cell lines were employed to study the role of HPV infection and AP-1 family proteins. An exclusive prevalence (28%) of HR-HPV type 16 was observed mainly in well differentiated tongue carcinomas (78.5%). A higher expression and DNA binding activity of AP-1 was observed in tongue tumors and cancer cell lines with c-Fos and Fra-2 as the major binding partners forming the functional AP-1 complex but c-Jun participated only in HPV negative and poorly differentiated carcinoma.

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