Cancer genomics & proteomics

Gene expression profiling of circulating natural killer cells in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

PMID 24136972


Natural killer (NK) cells are a major player of the innate immune system. Besides known risk factors for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), impaired immune surveillance may as well lead to tumor manifestation. In the present study, microarrays technologies were employed in order to perform gene expression profiling of NK cells in HNSCC patients. Differentially expressed genes have been detected in a comparative setting consisting of non-treated HNSCC patients, treated recurrence-free HNSCC patients and healthy control subjects. Cytokine receptors such as CCR7, IL-7R, and CXCR3 were down-regulated in non-treated HNSCC patients compared to healthy subjects, indicating impaired immune surveillance. In treated patients, up-regulated genes such as receptors for Fc fragments of specific antibodies, or ficolin-1 can be withheld as an immunological response to tumor manifestation. This study provides insights into gene expression changes in NK cells of HNSCC dependent upon clinical status and introduces several candidate genes suitable for further investigation.