Objective: To investigate the genetic and epigenetic differences between human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) and HPV-negative OPSCC.
Methods: Microarray data of HPV-positive and -negative OPSCC were retrieved from NCBI GEO datasets. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and differentially expressed miRNAs (DE-miRNAs) were identified by performing differential expression analysis. A functional enrichment analysis was performed to explore the biological processes and signaling pathways that DEGs and DE-miRNAs were involved in, respectively. A protein-protein interaction (PPI) network of DEGs was constructed to identify hub genes. miRNA-target network and miRNA-miRNA functional synergistic network were each constructed in order to identify risk-marker miRNAs. An miRNA-target-pathway network was constructed in order to explore the function of identified risk-marker miRNAs.
Results: Microarray data from 3 datasets (GSE39366, GSE40774, and GSE55550) was included and analyzed. The PPI network identified 3 hub genes (VCAM1, UBD, and RPA2). MiR-107 and miR-142-3p were found to play the most significant role in both the DE-miRNA-target network as well as in the miRNA-miRNA functional synergistic network. MiR-107 was involved in HPV-induced tumorigenesis by targeting many genes (CAV1, CDK6, MYB, and SERPINB5) and regulating the p53 signaling pathway, the PI3K-Akt signaling pathway, and the autophagy pathway. In addition, miR-142-3p was implicated in HPV-induced tumorigenesis by targeting the PPFIA1 gene and regulating transcriptional dysregulation and other cancerous pathways.
Conclusion: Three genes (VCAM1, UBD, and RPA2), two miRNAs (miR-107 and miR-142-3p), and four pathways (p53, PI3K-Akt, autophagy, and transcription dysregulation in cancer) were identified to play critical roles in distinguishing HPV-positive OPSCC from HPV-negative OPSCC.
Keywords: Genes; Human papillomavirus; Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma; Pathways; miRNAs.
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