Background: ADAR1 is an enzymatic protein, which catalyzes a RNA editing reaction by converting Adenosine to Inosine, and its expression has been found to be dysregulated in many cancer types. The aim of this study was to analyze the expression of ADAR1 in oral squamous cells carcinoma. Methods: In order to analyze the ADAR1 mRNA expression, data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database were downloaded and analyzed. In addition, immunohistochemistry analysis was performed on an institutional database including 46 samples of oral squamous cell carcinoma in a tissue microarray (TMA). Results: No statistically significant correlation linked the mRNA ADAR1 expression to any clinic-pathological variables in the TCGA database. Immunohistochemistry analysis of ADAR1 showed different expressions between normal mucosa and tumor tissue. Focusing on the subcellular localization, the nuclear expression of ADAR1 correlated with higher grading of differentiation (ρ = 0.442; P-value = 0.002); the general expression of ADAR1 either in cytoplasm or in nuclei, correlated with the Gender of patients (Cytoplasm expression: ρ = −0.295; P-value = 0.049; while for nuclear expression: ρ = +0.374; P = 0.011); cytosol expression resulted to be an independent protective prognostic factor (HR = 0.047; C.I. 95% 0.007-0.321; P-value = 0.002). Conclusion: Higher expression of ADAR1 into the cytoplasm resulted to be an independent prognostic factor. In order to understand ADAR1 role in cancer, further studies should be performed, in bigger cohort and under a bio-molecular point of view
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