Association between loss of Y chromosome and poor prognosis in male head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Robert Hollows, Wenbin Wei, Jean-Baptiste Cazier, Hisham Mehanna, Gabriella Parry, Graham Halford, Paul Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
188 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is more prevalent in men than women and this disparity cannot be fully explained by known risk factors. Recent studies have shown that loss of Y chromosome (LoY) confers an increased risk of solid cancer and reduces life expectancy in men.

METHODS: Using publicly available data from The Cancer Genome Atlas, we investigated the prevalence of LoY and its association with clinicopathological features in male HNSCC.

RESULTS: LoY was detectable in around 25% of male HNSCC. Men with human papillomavirus-negative tumors exhibiting LoY experienced significantly worse overall survival than those with no LoY. Moreover, LoY tumors exhibited overexpression of genes involved in redox processes, including genes previously implicated in resistance to both radiotherapy and cisplatin-based chemotherapeutics.

CONCLUSION: LoY may be an indicator of poor prognosis in male HNSCC that is linked to the overexpression of genes associated with resistance to standard care therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)993-1006
Number of pages14
JournalHead & Neck
Issue number4
Early online date23 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Medical Research Council, Grant/Award Number: 1608750

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Authors. Head & Neck published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • Y chromosome
  • aneuploidy
  • head and neck cancer
  • immune system
  • therapeutic resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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