A gene expression profile for non-smoking and non-drinking patients with head and neck cancer

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Abstract

Objective:

A small subset of patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma are non-smoking and non-drinking and have distinct clinical characteristics. We aimed to identify a possible different genetic profile for these patients when compared with their smoking and drinking counterparts.

Materials and Methods:

The gene expression data previously detected from primary tumors located in the oral cavity and oropharynx, using DNA microarray was analyzed for their differential expression between non-smoking and non-drinking patients (n= 15) and smoking and drinking patients (n= 89). Student'sT-test (P< 0.05) and 10-fold cross-validation procedure (100 times repeated) were performed to determine differentially expressed genes.

Results:

Non-smoking and non-drinking patients were older, mostly female and had oral cavity-localized tumors, whereas smoking and drinking patients were younger male patients with 81% oral cavity and 19% oropharynx tumors. A set of 49 differentially expressed genes were detected. Among others, seven genes related to interferon-γ were upregulated and two genes linked to NFKB pathway were downregulated.

Conclusions:

Differentially expressed genes in non-smoking and non-drinking patients possibly indicate the presence of a different cellular response to carcinogenic events in these patients. Further studies are warranted to validate this gene set and explore possible therapeutic implications to improve prognosis for these patients.

Conclusions:

Oral Diseases (2012) 18, 178–183

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