Research Papers:

Diagnostic accuracy of DNA methylation for head and neck cancer varies by sample type and number of markers tested

Xu Ji, Chao Guan, Xuejun Jiang _ and Hong Li

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:80019-80032. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.12219

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Xu Ji1, Chao Guan1, Xuejun Jiang1, Hong Li2

1Department of Otolaryngology, The First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, 110001, China

2Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, The Fourth Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, 110032, China

Correspondence to:

Xuejun Jiang, email: djiangxj@163.com.

Hong Li, email: zhaohuan_2000@163.com.

Keywords: head and neck cancer, DNA methylation, diagnostic accuracy, biopsy type, meta-analysis

Received: March 27, 2016     Accepted: September 02, 2016     Published: September 23, 2016


Abnormal methylation of certain cancer related genes strongly predicts a diagnosis of head and neck cancer (HNC), while the predictive power of methylation of other DNA markers for HNC remains unclear. To systemically assess the diagnostic value of DNA methylation patterns for HNC and the effect of methylation platform techniques and sample types, we performed a PubMed search for studies of the correlation between DNA methylation and HNC completed before July 2016, and extracted the sensitivity and specificity for methylated biomarkers. Across these studies, DNA methylation showed high sensitivity for diagnosing HNC in solid tissue (0.57), and high specificity in saliva (0.89). Area under the curve (AUC) from summary receiver operating characteristic (SROC) curves revealed that DNA methylation had more diagnostic power in solid tissue (AUC = 0.82) than saliva (AUC = 0.80) or blood (AUC = 0.77). Combinations of multiple methylated genes were more sensitive diagnostic markers than single methylated genes. Our results suggest that the diagnostic accuracy of methylated biomarkers for HNC varied by sample type and were most accurate when results from multiple sample types were considered.

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