Research Papers:

Immunoglobulin superfamily genes are novel prognostic biomarkers for breast cancer

Yue Li, Maoni Guo, Zhenkun Fu, Peng Wang, Yan Zhang, Yue Gao, Ming Yue, Shangwei Ning and Dianjun Li _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:2444-2456. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.13683

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Yue Li1,*, Maoni Guo2,*, Zhenkun Fu3,*, Peng Wang2, Yan Zhang2, Yue Gao2, Ming Yue2, Shangwei Ning2, Dianjun Li3

1Department of Medical Oncology, Harbin Medical University Cancer Hospital, Harbin, 150081, China

2College of Bioinformatics Science and Technology, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, 150081, China

3Department of Immunology, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, 150081, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Dianjun Li, email: [email protected]

Shangwei Ning, email: [email protected]

Keywords: immunoglobulin superfamily, breast cancer, network module, topology feature, prognostic biomarker

Received: July 18, 2016     Accepted: November 22, 2016     Published: November 29, 2016


Breast cancer progression is associated with dysregulated expression of the immunoglobulin superfamily (IgSF) genes that are involved in cell-cell recognition, binding and adhesion. Despite widespread evidence that many IgSF genes could serve as effective biomarkers, this potential has not been realized because the studies have focused mostly on individual genes and not the entire network. To gain a global perspective of the IgSF-related biomarkers, we constructed an IgSF-directed neighbor network (IDNN) and an IgSF-directed driver network (IDDN) by integrating multiple levels of data, including IgSF genes, breast cancer driver genes, protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks and gene expression profiling data. Our study shows that IgSF genes in the PPI network have important topological features related to cancer. Most IgSF genes are either cancer driver genes themselves or associated with them. We also identified a 21-gene IgSF network module with enriched mutations that are associated with overall survival based on 450 breast cancer patient samples extracted from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and multiple independent microarray validation datasets. These results highlight the potential of IgSF genes as novel diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic targets for breast cancer.

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