Disruption of NOTCH1 signaling was recently discovered in head and neck cancer. This study aims to evaluate NOTCH1 alterations in the progression of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and compare the occurrence of these mutations in Chinese and Caucasian populations. We used a high-throughput PCR-based enrichment technology and next-generation sequencing (NGS) to sequence NOTCH1 in 144 samples collected in China. Forty-nine samples were normal oralmucosa from patients undergoing oral surgery, 45 were oral leukoplakia biopsies, and 50 were chemoradiation-naïve OSCCsamples with 22 paired-normal tissues from the adjacent unaffected areas. NOTCH1 mutations were found in 54% of primary OSCC and 60% of premalignant lesions. Importantly, almost 60% of patients with leukoplakia with mutated NOTCH1 carried mutations that were also identified in OSCC, indicating an important role of these clonal events in the progression of early neoplasms. We then compared all known NOTCH1 mutations identified in Chinese patients with OSCC with those reported in Caucasians to date. Although we found obvious overlaps in critical regulatory NOTCH1 domains alterations and identified specific mutations shared by both groups, possible gain-of-function mutations were predominantly seen in Chinese population. Our findings demonstrate that premalignant lesions display NOTCH1 mutations at an early stage and are thus bona fide drivers of OSCCprogression. Moreover, our results reveal that NOTCH1 promotes distinct tumorigenic mechanisms in patients from different ethnical populations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research