Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) survivors are at increased risk of developing second primary esophageal squamous cell cancer (ESCC). We aimed to gain insight in the driving events of ESCC in HL survivors (hESCC) by using RNA sequencing and NanoString profiling. Objectives were to investigate differences in RNA signaling between hESCC and sporadic ESCC (sESCC), and to look for early malignant changes in non-neoplastic esophageal tissue of HL survivors (hNN-tissue). We analyzed material of 26 hESCC cases, identified via the Dutch pathology registry (PALGA) and 17 sESCC cases from one academic institute and RNA sequencing data of 44 sESCC cases from TCGA. Gene expression profiles for the NanoString panel PanCancer IO 360 were obtained from 16/26 hESCC and four hNN-tissue, while non-neoplastic squamous tissue of four sporadic cases (sNN-tissue) served as reference profile. Hierarchical clustering, differential expression and pathway analyses were performed. Overall, the molecular profiles of hESCC and sESCC were similar. There was increased immune, HMGB1 and ILK signaling compared to sNN-tissue. The profiles of hNN-tissue were distinct from sNN-tissue, indicating early field effects in the esophagus of HL survivors. The BRCA1 pathway was upregulated in hESCC tissue, compared to hNN tissue. Analysis of expression profiles reveals overlap between hESCC and sESCC, and differences between hESCC and its surrounding hNN-tissue. Further research is required to validate our results and to investigate whether the changes observed in hNN-tissue are already detectable before development of hESCC. In the future, our findings could be used to improve hESCC patient management.
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