Pyroptosis, a type of regulated cell death controlled by the gasdermin family of proteins to form plasma membrane pores is known. Nonetheless, the function of pyroptosis-related long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in this process still lacks exhaustive elucidation in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Other attributes encompassing the function of such lncRNAs in the immune microenvironment and potential prognosis for HNSCC are yet to see the light of the day. This work was designed to probe the possible prognostic worth of pyroptosis-related lncRNAs along with their impact on the immune microenvironment in the case of HNSCC.
The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database was the source of RNA-sequencing data of HNSCC patients. Pearson correlation analysis was employed to scour for lncRNAs linked to pyroptosis based on 40 genes related to the process. Following the construction of a pyroptosis-related lncRNA signature employing univariate, Least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) and multivariate Cox regression analyses, survival and nomogram analyses ensued to scrutinize the predictive value of the prognostic signature.
The segregation of patients into two risk groups was done by the constructed pyroptosis-related-lncRNA signature (encompassing 14 lncRNAs). The prognosis was poorer for individuals of the high-risk group versus (vs.) the low-risk group with the risk score emerging as an independent prognostic factor by regression analyses. The accuracy of this signature was corroborated by Receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) analysis with the three-years area under time-dependent ROC curve (AUC) reaching 0.767. Further analyses unveiled a conspicuous enrichment of immune-related pathways in the low-risk group. The high-risk group demonstrated an immunologically “cold” profile based on the immune cell infiltration landscape.
The lncRNA signature encompassing 14 pyroptosis-related lncRNAs could be a prognostic marker for HNSCC, suggesting pyroptosis might be a promising therapeutic target in HNSCC.

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