Identification of mutations in the PYRIN-containing NLR genes (NLRP) in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Yu Lei, Vivian W.Y. Lui, Jennifer R. Grandis, Ann Marie Egloff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HNSCC) encompasses malignancies that arise in the mucosa of the upper aerodigestive tract. Recent high throughput DNA sequencing revealed HNSCC genes mutations that contribute to several cancer cell characteristics, including dysregulation of cell proliferation and death, intracellular proinflammatory signaling, and autophagy. The PYRIN-domain containing NLR (Nucleotide-binding domain, Leucine rich Repeats - containing) proteins have recently emerged as pivotal modulators of cell death, autophagy, inflammation, and metabolism. Their close physiologic association with cancer development prompted us to determine whether mutations within the NLRP (PYRIN-containing NLR ) gene family were associated with HNSCC genome instability and their clinicopathologic correlations. Catastrophic mutational events underlie cancer cell genome instability and mark a point-of-no-return in cancer cell development and generation of heterogeneity. The mutation profiles of 62 patients with primary conventional type HNSCC excluding other histologic variants were analyzed. Associations were tested using Fisher's Exact test or Mann-Whitney U test. Mutations in NLRP were associated with elevated genome instability as characterized by higher mutation rates. Clinically, NLRP mutations were more frequently found in HNSCC arising in the floor of mouth (50.0%) in comparison with HNSCC at other head and neck locations (14.8%). These mutations were clustered at the leucine rich repeats region of NLRP proteins, and affected NLRP genes were mostly localized at chromosomes 11p15.4 and 19q13.42-19q13.43. Twenty novel NLRP mutations were identified in HNSCC, and mutations in this group of genes were correlated with increased cancer cell genome mutation rates, and such features could be a potential molecular biomarker of HNSCC genome instability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere85619
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 21 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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