Head and Neck Cancers Coverage from Every Angle
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Review of Current Omics-Related Literature for Patients With Head/Neck Cancer

By: Joseph Fanelli
Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2020

According to a review of presently available omics-related literature, the major strengths of these prognostic factors for patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma are the integration of multiple data sets through meta-analysis approaches and the growing integration among omics data obtained from patients. The weaknesses of these molecular signatures are the major limits created by the low number of signatures associated with DNA methylation and to noncoding RNA, concluded Carlos Resteghini, MD, of the Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori di Milano, Italy, and colleagues. These findings were presented in Cancers of the Head & Neck.

“New approaches based on artificial intelligence and informatic analyses are expected to be available in the…future,” the authors added. “In the next years, we hope to witness a surge of new omics-based analyses in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and based on new, large and rigorously clinically annotated data sets.”

In this study, the authors selected 61 omics studies from more than 1,000 evaluated papers. Of the studies selected, 33 investigated messenger RNA signatures, 11 reviewed microRNA signatures, 13 analyzed noncoding RNA signatures, and 4 studied DNA-methylation signatures.

The investigators found that more than half (36) of the signatures presented prognostic value, although they noted that just 10 studies performed selection of specific anatomic subsites. Significantly, according to Dr. Resteghini and colleagues, about half of the selected studies reported an external validation on independent data set(s), “strengthening” the application of the data.

Additionally, the authors highlighted the development and exploitation of three gene-expression signatures, whose clinical impact on prognosis and prediction of treatment may prove to be noteworthy. The signatures are the radiosensitivity index, the 15-gene hypoxia classifier, and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma gene expression of patients with short and prolonged responses to cetuximab- and platinum-based chemotherapy.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit cancersheadneck.biomedcentral.com.

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