Functional activities and immunohistochemical cellular distribution of Glutathione S-transferases in normal, dysplastic, and squamous cell carcinoma human oral tissues

Peter J. Giannini, Mark A. Morse, Christopher M. Weghorst, Ping Pei, Susan R. Mallery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Clinical data show a strong correlation between tobacco and alcohol use and the development of oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). While this association implies that the oral mucosa actively metabolizes carcinogens, there is little information which depicts the carcinogen metabolizing enzymes within the oral cavity. Glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) primary function is to detoxify carcinogens by increasing their water solubility, GSTs represent key carcinogen metabolizing enzymes. Notably, individuals with a null phenotype for certain GST isoforms are at an increased risk to develop cancer. This study investigated the function and distribution of GSTs in human oral tissues. Our results from this pilot study showed a trend towards higher GST activities in SCC tissues relative to normal mucosa. Also, relative to normal tissues, the SCC and epithelial dysplasia samples showed a more intense and uniform GST intracellular distribution. GST activities are increased in many high grade cancers. Similarly, our data suggest that GST upregulation occurs in at least a subset of precancerous and malignant oral lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-168
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Medicine: Oncology
StatePublished - Mar 28 2008



  • Carcinogen metabolism
  • Dysplasia
  • Glutathione transferases
  • Oral squamous cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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