Research Papers:

Salivary miRNA panel to detect HPV-positive and HPV-negative head and neck cancer patients

Yunxia Wan, Dimitrios Vagenas, Carolina Salazar, Liz Kenny, Chris Perry, Diego Calvopiña and Chamindie Punyadeera _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:99990-100001. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.21725

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Yunxia Wan1,*, Dimitrios Vagenas2,*, Carolina Salazar3,4, Liz Kenny5,6, Chris Perry7, Diego Calvopiña3,4 and Chamindie Punyadeera1

1School of Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, Australia

2Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, Woolloongabba, Queensland, Australia

3The School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, The University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia

4The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, The University of Queensland, The Translational Research Institute, Woolloongabba, Queensland, Australia

5The School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia

6Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, Central Integrated Regional Cancer Service, Queensland Health, Woolloongabba, Queensland, Australia

7Princess Alexandra Hospital, Woolloongabba, Brisbane, Australia

*Equal first author contributions

Correspondence to:

Chamindie Punyadeera, email: chamindie.punyadeera@qut.edu.au

Keywords: head and neck squamous cell carcinomas, human papilloma virus, miRNAs, saliva

Received: November 04, 2016    Accepted: July 26, 2017    Published: October 10, 2017


Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) are a heterogeneous group of tumours that originate predominantly from the oral cavity, pharynx and larynx. Our aim was to determine whether salivary miRNA expression levels can diagnose these cancer subtypes. Saliva samples were collected from healthy controls (n=113, smoker and non-smokers), HPV-positive (n=54) and HPV-negative (n=47) HNSCC patients. The miRNA expression levels in saliva was quantified using qPCR. The potential of salivary miRNAs to discriminate these groups of patients was evaluated using multiple logistic regression with ROC analysis and a 10-fold cross-validation analysis. Salivary miRNA-9, -127, -134, -191, -222 and -455 were shown to discriminate a control group from a HPV-negative HNSCC patient group with a sensitivity of 60% and a specificity of 94%; whilst salivary miRNA-9,-134, -196b, -210, and -455 were the most parsimonious subset discriminating a control group from a HPV-positive HNSCC group, with a sensitivity of 65% and a specificity of 95%. Furthermore, miRNA-9, -134, -196b, -210 and -455 as a panel, was the most parsimonious subset to discriminate HPV-positive HNSCC patients from HPV-negative HNSCC patients. In addition, the expression levels of miRNA-9, -127, -196a, -196b, -210, -222 and -455 were significantly increased in the saliva collected from early stage HNSCC patients compared to controls. A future multi-centre confirmatory study is warranted to test the diagnostic performance of these salivary miRNA prior to clinical implementation.

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