Purpose: Prior studies have demonstrated tumor-specific alternative splicing events in various solid tumor types. The role of alternative splicing in the development and progression of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is unclear. Our study queried exon-level expression to implicate splice variants in HNSCC tumors. Experimental Design: We performed a comparative genome-wide analysis of 44 HNSCC tumors and 25 uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) tissue samples at an exon expression level. In our comparison we ranked genes based upon a novel score - the Maximum-Minimum Exon Score (MMES) - designed to predict the likelihood of an alternative splicing event occurring. We validated predicted alternative splicing events using quantitative RT-PCR on an independent cohort. Results: After MMES scoring of 17,422 genes, the top 900 genes with the highest scores underwent additional manual inspection of expression patterns in a graphical analysis. The genes LAMA3, DST, VEGFC, SDHA, RASIP1, and TP63 were selected for further validation studies because of a high frequency of alternative splicing suggested in our graphical analysis, and literature review showing their biological relevance and known splicing patterns. We confirmed TP63 as having dominant expression of the short DeltaNp63 isoform in HNSCC tumor samples, consistent with prior reports. Two of the six genes (LAMA3 and DST) validated by quantitative RT-PCR for tumor-specific alternative splicing events (Student's t test, P<0.001). Conclusion: Alternative splicing events of oncologically relevant proteins occur in HNSCC. The number of genes expressing tumor-specific splice variants needs further elucidation, as does the functional significance of selective isoform expression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)