Actin-Associated Gene Expression is Associated with Early Regional Metastasis of Tongue Cancer

Doh Young Lee, Young Kang, Nu Ri Im, Byoungjae Kim, Tack Kyun Kwon, Kwang-Yoon Jung, Seung Kuk Baek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: We aimed to analyze gene expression profile of tongue cancer associated with early lymph node metastasis using the cancer genome atlas (TCGA) data. Study design: Basic research. Methods: A total of 515 patients with matched RNAseq data of primary tumor and clinical data from TCGA data were extracted. To compare gene expression profile between early T-stage tongue cancer with cervical lymph node metastasis and late T-stage tongue cancer without cervical metastasis, genomic data of following two groups was assessed; 1) group 1: T1/2 and N2/3 (n = 41), 2) group 2: T4 and N0 (n = 65). Using R and limma package in bioconductor program, differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were extracted. Gene ontology and pathway enrichment analysis were performed using the DAVID online tool. FFPE tissue of 285 patients were evaluated for the validation of relevant genes by imunofluorescence (IF) and immunohistochemical (IHC) stain. Results: A total of 225 DEGs were found, and 50 genes were highly significant with absolute fold change over eight. Gene ontology and pathway enrichment analysis revealed that most of the upregulated genes were associated with actin cytoskeleton and included following genes: ANKRD23, NO3, PDLIM3, MUSTN1, TNNT3, MYBPC1, MB, MYH3, TTN, ACTA1, and ACTC1. When comparing tongue cancer with cN0pN0 vs. pN0pN+ using the total tongue cancer cohort of TCGA, ACTA1 was the only parameter which was associated with hidden lymph node metastasis in T1/2 (P =.019). Perineural invasion was significantly associated with high expression of ACTA1 (P <.001). IF and IHC analysis revealed that actin was overexpressed, while E-cadherin and N-cadherin were not significantly different. Conclusions: Actin associated genes, especially overexpression of ACTA1 may be associated with early regional metastasis of tongue cancer. Level of Evidence: 3 Laryngoscope, 131:813–819, 2021.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-819
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work has supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (No. 2018R1D1A1B07047534), Boramae Medical Center, and Seoul National University Hospital. The authors have no other funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Funding Information:
This study was approved by the Institutional Review Boards (IRB) of Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center (IRB No. L-2017-442) and Korea University Anam Hospital (IRB No. ED15212). With the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society Inc, "The Triological Society" and American Laryngological Association (ALA)


  • Actin, tongue cancer, metastasis, gene expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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