Aim: Cell invasion leading to metastasis is a major cause of treatment failure in head-neck cancers (HNCs). Identifying prognostic molecules associated with invasiveness is imperative for clinical applications. Materials & methods: A systemic approach was used to globally survey invasion-related genes, including transcriptomic profiling, pathway analysis, data mining and prognostic assessment using TCGA-HNSC dataset. Results: Six functional pathways and six hub molecules (LAMA3, LAMC2, THBS1, IGF1R, PDGFB and TGFβ1) were identified that significantly contributed to cell invasion, leading to poor survival in HNC patients. Combinations of multiple biomarkers substantially increased the probability of accurately predicting prognosis. Conclusion: Our six defined invasion-related molecules may be used as a panel signature in precision medicine for prognostic indicators or molecular therapeutic targets for HNC.
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