Deciphering the genetic alterations in matrix metallo-proteinase gene family and its putative association with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Document Type : Original article

Authors

1 Department of Microbiology, Saveetha Dental College, Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences (SIMATS), Saveetha University, Chennai 600077, India

2 Biomedical Research Unit and Laboratory Animal Centre-Dental Research Cell, Saveetha Dental College, Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences (SIMATS), Saveetha University, Chennai 600077, India

Abstract

Matrix metallo-proteinases (MMPs) a group of zinc-dependent proteolytic enzymes which play a key role in tumorigenesis by degrading almost all extracellular matrix (ECM) components. MMPs are associated with tumour progression including invasion, angiogenesis, metastasis and poor prognosis. Genetic alterations such as single nucleotide variations and other gross chromosomal abnormalities have been found to drive the process of malignant transformation. In line with the above facts, the present study aims to analyse the genetic alterations, associated gene expression patterns and survival probability of HNSCC patients upon differential expression of the crucial members of the MMP family. The observational study utilised several computational tools. The cBioportal database was used as the primary source of identification of genetic alterations in the MMP family of genes. The Cancer Gene Atlas dataset (Firehose Legacy) was used for the investigations. The highest frequency of alteration was identified in the MMP20 gene (8%). The common gene alterations were amplifications, deep deletions, mis-sense and truncating mutations. Interestingly, amplification and deep deletion followed the same pattern in about 31 patients, in genes MMP1, 3, 7, 8, 10, 12, 20, and 27. The MMP20 gene expression analysis showed a significant difference between the normal subjects and the patients with primary tumors (6.95 x 10-4). The Kaplan-Meier survival curve analysis identified that female patients with high-level expression of the MMP20 gene had a low survival probability when compared to male HNSC patients. Taken together, the present study provides preliminary information about the involvement of the MMP20 gene of the MMP family with HNSCC. Further experimental analysis is required to derive a strong association between the gene alterations observed  with HNSCC.

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