Screening and identification of autophagy-related biomarkers for oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) via integrated bioinformatics analysis

J Cell Mol Med. 2021 May;25(9):4444-4454. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.16512. Epub 2021 Apr 9.


Increasing evidences have showed that autophagy played a significant role in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). Purpose of our study was to explore the prognostic value of autophagy-related genes (ATGs) and screen autophagy-related biomarkers for OSCC. RNA-seq and clinical data were downloaded from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database following extracting ATG expression profiles. Then, differentially expressed analysis was performed in R software and a risk score model according to ATGs was established. Moreover, comprehensive bioinformatics analyses were used to screen autophagy-related biomarkers which were later verified in OSCC tissues and cell lines. A total of 232 ATGs were extracted, and 37 genes were differentially expressed in OSCC. Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analysis demonstrated that these genes were mainly located in autophagosome membrane and associated with autophagy. Furthermore, the risk score on basis of ATGs was identified as potential independent prognostic biomarker. Moreover, ATG12 and BID were identified as potential autophagy-related biomarkers of OSCC. This study successfully constructed a risk model, and the risk score could predict the prognosis of OSCC patients accurately. Moreover, ATG12 and BID were identified as two potential independent prognostic autophagy-related biomarkers and might provide new OSCC therapeutic targets.

Keywords: ATG12; BID; autophagy; bioinformatics; oral squamous cell carcinoma; prognosis.