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Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) was and still constitutes a significant challenge for medical researchers. Many researchers link between TNM stage, tumour grade, tumour depth of invasion, mode of invasion, perineural invasion, and lymphovascular invasion with locoregional recurrence and poor survival in-patient with OSCC and they concluded that these parameters could be used as prognosticators in this tumour. Cathepsin-D is a lysosomal proteolytic enzyme that in normal cells participate in the proteolysis of endocytosed proteins and proteolytic activation of secretory proteins. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the significance of Cathepsin-D expression in OSCC. Fifty formalin fixed- paraffin embedded tissues of primary OSCCs were examined by immunohistochemistry for Cathepsin-D expression. The resultant scores then correlated with clinical and histopathological parameters using the Pearson chi-square test. Positive expression of Cathepsin-D was detected in 48 cases (96%) among them (12 cases; 24%) showed intense expression, (18 cases; 36%) were moderate and (18 cases; 36%) were mild, and only two cases showed negative expression. Statistical analysis of this expression displayed positive relations with tumour depth, tumour stage, and lymphovascular invasion. Non-significant relations were detected with the other clinicopathological parameters. The high percentage of cases that displayed positive expression of CTD and significant relation with the tumour depth, stage, perineural invasion and lymphovascular invasion shows that the enzyme may play a role in the initiation, progression, invasion and metastasis of oral squamous cell carcinoma.
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