CENP-A Subnuclear Localization Pattern as Marker Predicting Curability by Chemoradiation Therapy for Locally Advanced Head and Neck Cancer Patients
Effective biomarkers predictive of the response to treatments are key for precision medicine. This study identifies the staining pattern of the centromeric histone 3 variant, CENP-A, as a predictive biomarker of locoregional disease curability by chemoradiation therapy. We compared by imaging the subnuclear distribution of CENP-A in normal and tumoral tissues, and in a retrospective study in biopsies of 62 locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients treated by chemoradiation therapy. We looked for predictive factors of locoregional disease control and patient’s survival, including CENP-A patterns, Ki67, HPV status and anisokaryosis. In different normal tissues, we reproducibly found a CENP-A subnuclear pattern characterized by CENP-A clusters both localized at the nuclear periphery and regularly spaced. In corresponding tumors, both features are lost. In locally advanced HNSCC, a specific CENP-A pattern identified in pretreatment biopsies predicts definitive locoregional disease control after chemoradiation treatment in 96% (24/25) of patients (OR = 17.6 CI 95% [2.6; 362.8], p = 0.002), independently of anisokaryosis, Ki67 labeling or HPV status. The characteristics of the subnuclear pattern of CENP-A in cell nuclei revealed by immunohistochemistry could provide an easy to use a reliable marker of disease curability by chemoradiation therapy in locally advanced HNSCC patients.