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The relevance between the immune response-related gene module and clinical traits in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Authors Song Y, Pan Y, Liu J

Received 13 January 2019

Accepted for publication 17 July 2019

Published 6 August 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 7455—7472


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Sanjeev Srivastava

Yidan Song,* Yihua Pan,* Jun Liu

State Key Laboratory of Oral Diseases, National Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases, Department of Orthodontics, West China Hospital of Stomatology, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610041, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Purpose: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth most prevalent cancer in the world, accounting for more than 90% of head and neck malignant tumors. However, its molecular mechanism is largely unknown. To help elucidate the potential mechanism of HNSCC tumorigenesis, we investigated the gene interaction patterns associated with tumorigenesis.
Methods: Weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) can help us to predict the intrinsic relationship or correlation between gene expression. Additionally, we further explored the combination of clinical information and module construction.
Results: Sixteen modules were constructed, among which the key module most closely associated with clinical information was identified. By analyzing the genes in this module, we found that the latter may be related to the immune response, inflammatory response and formation of the tumor microenvironment. Sixteen hub genes were identified—ARHGAP9, SASH3, CORO1A, ITGAL, PPP1R16B, TBC1D10C, IL10RA, ITK, AKNA, PRKCB, TRAF3IP3, GIMAP4, CCR7, P2RY8, GIMAP7, and SP140. We further validated these genes at the transcriptional and translation levels.
Conclusion: The innovative use of a weighted network to analyze HNSCC samples provides new insights into the molecular mechanism and prognosis of HNSCC. Additionally, the hub genes we identified can be used as biomarkers and therapeutic targets of HNSCC, laying the foundation for the accurate diagnosis and treatment of HNSCC in clinical and research in the future.

Keywords: head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, wgcna, co-expression, gene module, hub gene, immune response-related genes

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