The Expression of Checkpoint and DNA Repair Genes in Head and Neck Cancer as Possible Predictive Factors
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DNA damage response failure may influence the efficacy of DNA-damaging treatments. We determined the expression of 16 genes involved in distinct DNA damage response pathways, in association with the response to standard therapy. Twenty patients with locoregionally advanced, squamous cell head and neck carcinoma were enrolled. The treatment included induction chemotherapy (iChT) with docetaxel, cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil followed by concomitant chemoradiotherapy (ChRT) or radiotherapy (RT) alone. The volumetric metabolic therapeutic response was determined by [18F]FDG-PET/CT. In the tumor and matched normal tissues collected before treatment, the gene expressions were examined via the quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). The down-regulation of TP53 was apparently associated with a poor response to iChT, its up-regulation with complete regression in 2 cases. 7 cases with down-regulated REV1 expression showed complete regression after ChRT/RT, while 1 case with REV1 overexpression was resistant to RT. The overexpression of WRN was an independent predictor of tumor relapse. Our results suggest that an altered expression of REV1 predicts sensitivity to RT, while WRN overexpression is an unfavorable prognostic factor.
KeywordsHead and neck cancer Chemosensitivity Radiosensitivity DNA damage response Gene expression
The authors are grateful for the advice of Ágnes Zvara and Ferenc Somogyvári on qRT-PCR methodology and for the advice of Krisztina Boda on statistical analysis.
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