PURPOSE: Aberrant DNA methylation plays a crucial role in oral carcinogenesis. Our previous study demonstrated hypermethylation of DAPK1, LRPPRC, RAB6C, and ZNF471 promoters in patients with tongue squamous cell carcinoma compared with normal samples. Methylation profiling using salivary DNA is considered a non-invasive alternative to tissue samples. Hence, the present study tested the DNA methylation status of these four promoters as indicators of oral cancer progression. METHODS: We performed the bisulfite-based targeted next-generation sequencing of four candidate genes in saliva and tissue DNA from normal, premalignant, and squamous cell carcinoma subjects. The clinicopathological association, diagnostic, and prognostic utility of aberrant DNA methylation were evaluated using the TCGA-HNSCC dataset. Using the Xgboost algorithm and logistic regression, CpG sites were prioritized, and Receiver Operating Characteristic was generated. By Log-rank test and Kaplan-Meier (KM) curves, an association between methylation and overall survival (OS), disease-free interval (DFI), and progression-free interval (PFI) were computed. RESULTS: We identified all four genes as significantly hypermethylated in premalignant and malignant samples compared with normal samples. The methylation levels were comparable between saliva and tissue samples with an r-value of 0.6297 to 0.8023 and 0.7823 to 0.9419 between premalignant tissue vs. saliva and OC vs. saliva, respectively. We identified an inverse correlation between DAPK1, LRPPRC, RAB6C, and ZNF471 promoter methylation with their expression. A classifier of 8 differentially methylated CpG sites belonging to DAPK1, RAB6C, and ZNF471 promoters was constructed, showing an AUC of 0.984 to differentiate tumors from normal samples. The differential methylation status of DAPK1, LRPPRC, and ZNF71 promoters was prognostically important. Abnormal expression of all four genes was associated with immune infiltration. CONCLUSIONS: Thus, methylation analysis of these candidate CpG sites from saliva can be helpful as a non-invasive tool for the clinical management of OC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-268
Number of pages12
JournalCancer biomarkers : section A of Disease markers
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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