Novel circular RNA expression profiles reflect progression of patients with hypopharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma

Oncotarget. 2017 Jul 11;8(28):45367-45379. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.17488.


Circular RNAs (circRNAs), a novel class of endogenous noncoding RNAs, have been shown to have important roles in a number of diseases, including several types of cancers. We hypothesized that circRNAs are involved in the pathogenesis of hypopharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (HSCC). To test our hypothesis, we initially compared the expression profiles of circRNAs in 4 paired HSCC and adjacent normal tissue samples by using a circRNA microarray. The microarray data showed that 2392 circRNAs, including 1304 upregulated and 1088 downregulated circRNA transcripts, were significantly dysregulated in the HSCC tissues. The 10 most dysregulated circRNAs from the microarray analysis were further validated in another 32 pairs of specimens using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction assays. These circRNAs might sponge microRNAs (miRNAs) in predicted circRNA-miRNA-mRNA networks. Bioinformatics analysis was also performed to predict possible pathways in which these networks might be involved. Finally, we analyzed the interaction between validated circRNAs and their potential cancer-related miRNA targets. We are the first to comprehensively delineate the expression profiles of circRNAs in HSCC and to provide potential candidates for future mechanism studies. Our study is potentially of critical significance in uncovering the roles of circRNAs in HSCC.

Keywords: bioinformatics analysis; circRNAs; hypopharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma; miRNA sponges; microarray analysis.

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Biomarkers, Tumor*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Disease Progression
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Hypopharyngeal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Hypopharyngeal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Liquid Biopsy
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • Prognosis
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA*
  • RNA, Circular
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Circular
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA