Human sperm-associated antigen 4 as a potential prognostic biomarker of lung squamous cell carcinoma

J Int Med Res. 2021 Jul;49(7):3000605211032807. doi: 10.1177/03000605211032807.


Objective: Lung cancer (LC) is one of the most prevalent malignant tumors worldwide. As a subtype of LC, lung squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC) has a 5-year survival rate of less than 15%. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the prognostic value of a glycolysis-related gene signature in LUSC patients.

Methods: We obtained RNA-Seq data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database. Prognosis-related genes were screened out by Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) and Cox proportional regression models. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) was used to verify the mRNA expression levels in relevant tissues.

Results: We found that sperm-associated antigen 4 (SPAG4) overexpression was an independent risk factor for overall survival (OS) in LUSC. Patients with high-risk scores had higher mortality rates than those with low-risk scores. Moreover, by using RT-qPCR, we validated that SPAG4 mRNA was overexpressed in LUSC tissue samples compared with their paired para-cancerous histological normal tissues.

Conclusions: Analysis of aberrantly overexpressed SPAG4 may provide a further useful approach to complement existing methods and predict prognosis in LUSC patients.

Keywords: Lung squamous cell carcinoma; The Cancer Genome Atlas; gene set enrichment analysis; glycolysis; prognosis; sperm-associated antigen 4; survival.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell* / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell* / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Male
  • Prognosis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Carrier Proteins
  • SPAG4 protein, human