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Bioinformatics Analyses Indicate That Cathepsin G (CTSG) is a Potential Immune-Related Biomarker in Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC)

Authors Huang G, Wu Q, Zheng Z, Shao T, Li F, Lu X, Ye H, Chen G, Song Y, Zeng W, Ai Y, Lv X

Received 20 November 2020

Accepted for publication 18 January 2021

Published 25 February 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 1275—1289

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OTT.S293148

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Sanjeev Srivastava


Guang-zhao Huang,1,* Qing-qing Wu,1,* Ze-nan Zheng,1,* Ting-ru Shao,1 Fei Li,1 Xin-yan Lu,1 Heng-yu Ye,1 Gao-xiang Chen,1 Yu-xing Song,1 Wei-sen Zeng,2 Yi-long Ai,3 Xiao-zhi Lv1

1Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, NanFang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Cell Biology, School of Basic Medical Science, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, People’s Republic of China; 3Foshan Stomatological Hospital, School of Stomatology and Medicine, Foshan University, Foshan, Guangdong Province, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Xiao-zhi Lv
Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, NanFang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Baiyun District, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, 510080, People’s Republic of China
Tel +86 13724811658
Email [email protected]
Yi-long Ai
Foshan Stomatological Hospital, School of Stomatology and Medicine, Foshan University, Chancheng District, Foshan, Guangdong Province, 528000, People’s Republic of China
Tel +86 13827755774
Email [email protected]

Purpose: Plenty of studies showed that the immune system was associated with cancer initiation and progression. This study aimed to explore the prognostic biomarkers from immune-related genes (IRGs) in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC).
Materials and Methods: RNA-seq data were downloaded from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and IRGs and transcription factors (TFs) were extracted. Then, the co-expression network between IRGs and TFs was constructed using the “WGCNA” package in R software. Furthermore, a gene expression signature according to IRGs was constructed to predict OSCC prognosis and its accuracy was validated by survival analysis. Subsequently, correlation analyses between risk-score and immune cells level and clinical parameters were performed. Finally, immune-related biomarkers were selected and further investigated using gain-of-function assays in vitro.
Results: A total of 32 normal cases and 317 OSCC cases were selected in our study. Differentially-expressed analysis indicated that there were 381 differentially-expressed IRGs and 62 TFs in OSCC. Among them, 25 TFs and 21 IRGs were enrolled in the co-expression network. Furthermore, we found that gene expression signature on the basis of 10 IRGs could predict the prognosis accurately and a high-risk score based on gene expression signature meant a high T classification, terminal clinical stage, and low immune cells level in OSCC. Finally, cathepsin G (CTSG) was identified as a potential immune-related biomarker and therapeutic target in OSCC.
Conclusion: In conclusion, IRGs were directly involved in the development and progression of OSCC. Furthermore, CTSG was identified as a potential independent biomarker and might be an immunotherapeutic target in OSCC treatment.

Keywords: oral squamous cell carcinoma, immune, biomarker, bioinformatics, CTSG

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