Differential expression profiling of head and neck squamous carcinoma: significance in their phenotypic and biological classification

Oncogene. 2002 Nov 21;21(53):8206-19. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1206021.


The genetic events associated with the development and progression of head and neck squamous carcinoma (HNSC) are largely unknown. We analysed 12 matched pairs of histologically normal squamous mucosa and tumor specimens from six conventional and six phenotypic variants HNSC to define the differentially expressed genes in these tumors. Parallel expression analysis of 8055 unique genes was performed, and the level of the hybridization signal for each gene was measured after normalization. Hierarchical cluster analysis of the expressed genes showed distinct inter- and intra-tumoral patterns in and between conventional squamous carcinoma and squamous carcinoma variants. We also identified 26 (0.32%) differentially expressed genes that were consistently different between matched pairs of normal and tumor specimens; a selected set of the overexpressed genes was validated using real-time quantitative RT-PCR. The majority of the genes were associated with differentiation and proliferation. Our study defines a set of genes that could form the basis for the construction of limited HNSC targeted expression array and in-depth studies and further highlights gene profile differences that may be useful in pathobiologic classification of HNSC.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Division / genetics
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Subtraction Technique


  • DNA, Complementary