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posted on 07.10.2021, 04:39 authored by Lihua Zuo, Zhuo Chen, Lihuang Chen, Jian Kang, Yingying Shi, Liwei Liu, Shuhua Zhang, Qingquan Jia, Yi Huang, Zhi Sun
Background

Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is the most malignant neoplasm in oral cancer. There is growing evidence that its progression involves altered metabolism. The current method of evaluating prognosis is very limited, and metabolomics may provide a new approach for quantitative evaluation. The aim of the study is to evaluate the use of metabolomics as prognostic markers for patients with OSCC.

Methods

An analytical platform, Ultra-Performance Liquid Chromatography-Quadrupole/Orbitrap High Resolution Mass Spectrometry (UHPLC-Q-Orbitrap HRMS), was used to acquire the serum fingerprinting profiles from a total of 103 patients of OSCC before and after the operation. In total, 103 OSCC patients were assigned to either a training set (n = 73) or a test set (n = 30). The potential biomarkers and the changes of serum metabolites were profiled and correlated with the clinicopathological parameters and survival of the patients by statistical analysis. To further verify our results, we linked them to gene expression using data from the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG).

Results

In total, 14 differential metabolites and five disturbed pathways were identified between the preoperative group and postoperative group. Succinic acid change-low, hypoxanthine change-high tumor grade, and tumor stage indicated a trend towards improved recurrence-free survival (RFS), whether in a training set or a test set. In addition, succinic acid change-low, hypoxanthine change-high, and tumor grade provided the highest predictive accuracy of the patients with OSCC. KEGG enrichment analysis showed that the imbalance in the amino acid and purine metabolic pathway may affect the prognosis of OSCC.

Conclusions

The changes of metabolites before and after operation may be related to the prognosis of OSCC patients. UHPLC-Q-Orbitrap HRMS serum metabolomics analysis could be used to further stratify the prognosis of patients with OSCC. These results can better understand the mechanisms related to early recurrence and help develop more effective therapeutic targets.

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