AIM: Oral carcinogenesis cascade is a complex process, characterized by variable numbers of genetic and epigenetic alterations of various genes with manifold roles that could serve as biological hallmarks. This study was undertaken to assess the protein expression of SOX2 and podoplanin in oral epithelial dysplasia and correlate the expression with clinicopathological parameters and risk of malignant transformation. METHODS: SOX2 and podoplanin expression were analyzed in 60 cases of oral epithelial dysplasia. The association between SOX2 and podoplanin expression with various clinicopathological parameters and transformation to oral cancer was analyzed. RESULTS: A higher Histoscore was seen in 55% of moderate and 30% of severe dysplasia. 25% of the cases showed a negative podoplanin expression and 30% of patients had higher podoplanin expression (score 2 and 3). Though there was significant association of both SOX2 and podoplanin expression with the degree of dysplasia, the association of their expression with transformation to oral squamous cell carcinoma did not reach statistical significance. CONCLUSION: Alteration in SOX2 and podoplanin is likely an important event in head and neck carcinogenesis; however, their expression may be valuable only in a few cases of oral epithelial dysplasia to assess the risk of malignant transformation.
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