Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth most common cancer worldwide, which accounts for approximately 6% of all cases and is responsible for an estimated 2% of all cancer deaths. Despite progress in the treatment of squamous cell carcinomas, survival rates remain low. It is a fact that epigenetic modifications have numerous associations with biological processes and complex diseases such as cancer. Hence, a more systematic approach is needed to provide potential screening targets and have an effective therapy method. This study developed a workflow to analyze HM450 methylation arrays with mRNA expression profiles that identified novel signatures of epigenetic regulators for tumor progression. We identified differentially expressed genes and differentially methylated regions and the correlation between associated genes to identify epigenetic modifications underlying regulation roles. We have taken the differentiation direction of expressions into account during the integration of gene expression and DNA methylation modification to detect epigenetic regulators of core genes of tumor-stage progression. Enrichment analysis of selected key genes provides better insight into their functionality. Thus, we have investigated gene copy number alteration and mutations to filter differentially expressed genes, including some members of the fibroblast growth factor family and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor family with other potential known regulators. Our analysis has revealed the list of 61 commercial methylation probes positively correlated with 31 differentially expressed genes, which can be associated with HNSC metastasis stages. Most of these genes have already reported potential epigenetic regulators, and their role in cancer progression was studied. We suggest these selected probes of DNA methylation as potential targets of the epigenetic regulators in revealed genes that have displayed significant genetic and epigenetic modification behavior during cancer stage progression and tumor metastasis.
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