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PeerJ. 2017 Nov 17;5:e4062. doi: 10.7717/peerj.4062. eCollection 2017.

A 16-gene signature predicting prognosis of patients with oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma.

Author information

Department of Anesthesiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, People's Republic of China.
Department of Anesthesiology, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, People's Republic of China.
Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, People's Republic of China.
Contributed equally



Oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma (OTSCC) is the most common subtype of oral cancer. A predictive gene signature is necessary for prognosis of OTSCC.


Five microarray data sets of OTSCC from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) and one data set from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) were obtained. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) of GEO data sets were identified by integrated analysis. The DEGs associated with prognosis were screened in the TCGA data set by univariate survival analysis to obtain a gene signature. A risk score was calculated as the summation of weighted expression levels with coefficients by Cox analysis. The signature was used to distinguish carcinoma, estimated by receiver operator characteristic curves and the area under the curve (AUC). All were validated in the GEO and TCGA data sets.


Integrated analysis of GEO data sets revealed 300 DEGs. A 16-gene signature and a risk score were developed after survival analysis. The risk score was effective to stratify patients into high-risk and low-risk groups in the TCGA data set (P < 0.001). The 16-gene signature was valid to distinguish the carcinoma from normal samples (AUC 0.872, P < 0.001).


We identified a useful 16-gene signature for prognosis of OTSCC patients, which could be applied to clinical practice. Further studies were needed to prove the findings.


Gene signature; OTSCC; Oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma; Prognosis; Risk score

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

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