Research Paper Volume 13, Issue 6 pp 7975—7997

Development and validation of a RNA binding protein-associated prognostic model for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Xiuping Yang1,2, *, , Baoai Han1, *, , Runshi Zhang3, *, , Yuan Su4, , Davood K. Hosseini5, , Han Wu1, , Minlan Yang2, , Haiying Sun1, ,

  • 1 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430022, China
  • 2 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan 430071, China
  • 3 Department of Clinical Laboratory, Xi'an No. 1 Hospital, Xi'an 710000, China
  • 4 Department of Clinical Laboratory, Xi'an Labor Union Hospital, Xi'an 710000, China
  • 5 Department of Internal Medicine, Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, NJ 07601, USA
* Equal contribution

Received: May 15, 2020       Accepted: March 13, 2021       Published: March 24, 2021
How to Cite

Copyright: © 2021 Yang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Evidence shows that defects in RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) are closely related to the occurrence and development of HNSCC. We obtained 502 tumors and 44 normal samples from the TCGA database, among which 190 differentially expressed RBPs were screened. Finally, a prognostic model containing nine RBPs (CELF2, CPEB1, DDX39B, EIF3L, EZH2, KHDRBS3, RNASE10, RNASE3 and SIDT1) was produced. Further analysis showed that the overall survival rate in the high-risk group was lower than that in the low-risk group. The area under the ROC curve (AUC) in the training and testing groups was significant (3-year AUC, 0.735 vs 0.796; 5-year AUC, 0.821 vs 0.804). In addition, a comprehensive analysis of nine identified RBPs showed that most of them were related to the OS of HNSCC patients, and three of them (CELF2, EZH2, and SIDT1) were differentially expressed in HNSCC and control tissues at the protein level. In addition, our data revealed that the identified RBPs are highly interconnected, with high frequency copy number changes in HNSCC samples. GSEA indicated that the abnormal biological processes related to RNA and the activation of some classical tumor signaling pathways were important driving forces for the development of HNSCC. Our results provide novel insights into the pathogenesis of HNSCC, among which nine RBP markers have potential application value in clinical decision-making and individualized treatment of HNSCC.


RBPs: RNA binding proteins; DERBPs: Differential-expressed RNA binding proteins; OS: Overall survival; HNSCC: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; TIMER: Tumor Immune Estimation Resource; GEPIA: Gene Expression Profiling Interactive Analysis; LASSO: (Least absolute shrinkage and selection operator; CNV: Copy number variations; GSEA: Gene set enrichment analysis.