1. Key Laboratory of Shanxi Province for Craniofacial Precision Medicine Research, College of Stomatology, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710004, China.
2. Laboratory Center of Stomatology, College of Stomatology, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710004, China.
3. Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, College of Stomatology, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710004, China.
4. Department of Ophthalmology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Xinjiang Medical University, Urumqi, 830001, China.
Objectives: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the most common malignancy of the head and neck. However, the molecular mechanisms governing the development of HNSCC have not been fully elucidated.
Materials and Methods: Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were screened out from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and GSE23036 datasets. Weighted gene coexpression network analysis (WGCNA) was used to reveal the correlations among genes and to search for significantly correlated gene modules. The expression levels of genes in HNSCC and normal samples according to antibody-based detected methods was assessed by utilizing the Human Protein Atlas (HPA). The impact of the selected hub genes on the prognosis of HNSCC patients was assessed by analysing immunohistochemistry (IHC) and immunofluorescence (IF) expression levels and clinical data.
Results: Twenty-four genes positively correlated with tumour status and 15 genes negatively correlated with tumour status were screened out by WGCNA. PLAU and LAMC2 were associated with a poor prognosis in patients with HNSCC and were finally screened out and verified by GEPIA and HPA database analysis. Immunohistochemistry of samples collected from 175 patients with HNSCC and subsequent statistical analysis also showed that PLAU and LAMC2 were associated with a poor prognosis in patients with HNSCC, and the levels of these two factors were positively correlated. The expression and co-localization of PLAU and LAMC2 in HNSCC tissues were confirmed by double immunofluorescence labeling.
Conclusions: There was a positive correlation between PLAU and LAMC2 expression in HNSCC samples, and PLAU and LAMC2 might be independent prognostic biomarkers for HNSCC.