News Release

Oncotarget | Nectin-4 is widely expressed in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Impact Journals LLC

Figure 1

image: Figure 1: Nectin-4 immunohistochemistry in HNSCC. view more 

Credit: 2022 Sanders et al.

“​​In this study, we aimed to determine the rate of Nectin-4 positivity in a contemporary cohort of HNSCC and to correlate these findings with clinico-pathological parameters.”

BUFFALO, NY- November 3, 2022 – A new research paper was published in Oncotarget's Volume 13 on October 20, 2022, entitled, “Nectin-4 is widely expressed in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.”

Nectin-4 has been successfully established as a target molecule in locally advanced and metastatic bladder cancer. An antibody-drug conjugate (enfortumab-vedotin) directed against nectin-4 has shown marked tumor remission rates in this tumor type, which is known for high expression rates of nectin-4. 

As head and neck cancer and urothelial carcinomas share morphological and molecular similarities, researchers Christine Sanders, Jan-Frederic Lau, Dimo Dietrich, Sebastian Strieth, Peter Brossart, and Glen Kristiansen from University Medical Center Bonn and University Hospital Bonn aimed to evaluate Nectin-4 expression in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

A previously described and clinically characterized cohort of HNSCC (n = 159) was analyzed by immunohistochemistry for Nectin-4 expression. The expression data was correlated to clinico-pathological parameters including patient outcome.

Nectin-4 was found in 86.2% of HNSCC, with medium/high expression seen in 32.7% of cases. Non-smokers and p16 positive HNSCC showed a higher expression of Nectin-4 (p < 0.005). There was no correlation of Nectin-4 with grading or tumor stage. Nectin-4 positive tumors showed significantly better survival (log rank p = 0.006).

“Similar to urothelial carcinoma, Nectin-4 is found in the majority of HNSCC, which clearly warrants further studies to clarify if HNSCC also respond to targeted therapy with enfortumab-vedotin. Moreover, expression of Nectin-4 is associated with HPV infection and may serve as a prognostic marker in HNSCC.”


Correspondence to: Glen Kristiansen - Email: 

Keywords: Nectin-4, enfortumab-vedotin, HNSCC, p16

About Oncotarget: Oncotarget (a primarily oncology-focused, peer-reviewed, open access journal) aims to maximize research impact through insightful peer-review; eliminate borders between specialties by linking different fields of oncology, cancer research and biomedical sciences; and foster application of basic and clinical science.

To learn more about Oncotarget, visit and connect with us on social media:


For media inquiries, please contact:

Oncotarget Journal Office

6666 East Quaker Str., Suite 1A

Orchard Park, NY 14127

Phone: 1-800-922-0957 (option 2)


Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.