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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 145289, 8 pages
Review Article

An Overview of the Spindle Assembly Checkpoint Status in Oral Cancer

1CESPU, Instituto de Investigação e Formação Avançada em Ciências e Tecnologias da Saúde, Rua Central de Gandra 1317, 4585-116 Gandra, Portugal
2Centre for Molecular and Structural Biomedicine, CBME/IBB, University of Algarve, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
3Centro de Química Medicinal da Universidade do Porto (CEQUIMED-UP), Rua de Jorge Viterbo Ferreira 228, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal
4Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental (CIIMAR/CIMAR), Universidade do Porto, Rua dos Bragas 289, 4050-123 Porto, Portugal

Received 28 February 2014; Accepted 18 May 2014; Published 3 June 2014

Academic Editor: Heide Schatten

Copyright © 2014 José Henrique Teixeira et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Abnormal chromosome number, or aneuploidy, is a common feature of human solid tumors, including oral cancer. Deregulated spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) is thought as one of the mechanisms that drive aneuploidy. In normal cells, SAC prevents anaphase onset until all chromosomes are correctly aligned at the metaphase plate thereby ensuring genomic stability. Significantly, the activity of this checkpoint is compromised in many cancers. While mutations are rather rare, many tumors show altered expression levels of SAC components. Genomic alterations such as aneuploidy indicate a high risk of oral cancer and cancer-related mortality, and the molecular basis of these alterations is largely unknown. Yet, our knowledge on the status of SAC components in oral cancer remains sparse. In this review, we address the state of our knowledge regarding the SAC defects and the underlying molecular mechanisms in oral cancer, and discuss their therapeutic relevance, focusing our analysis on the core components of SAC and its target Cdc20.