Research Papers:

Identification of two novel biomarkers of rectal carcinoma progression and prognosis via co-expression network analysis

Min Sun, Taojiao Sun, Zhongshi He and Bin Xiong _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:69594-69609. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18646

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Min Sun1,*, Taojiao Sun2,*, Zhongshi He3 and Bin Xiong1

1Department of Oncology, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Hubei Key Laboratory of Tumor Biological Behaviors & Hubei Cancer Clinical Study Center, Wuhan 430071, P.R. China

2Department of Stomatology, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan 430071, P.R. China

3Department of Radiation and Medical Oncology, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan 430071, P.R. China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Bin Xiong, email: [email protected]

Keywords: rectal cancer, The Cancer Genome Atlas, weighted gene co-expression network analysis, prognosis, disease progression

Received: March 06, 2017     Accepted: May 22, 2017     Published: June 27, 2017


mRNA expression profiles provide important insights on a diversity of biological processes involved in rectal carcinoma (RC). Our aim was to comprehensively map complex interactions between the mRNA expression patterns and the clinical traits of RC. We employed the integrated analysis of five microarray datasets and The Cancer Genome Atlas rectal adenocarcinoma database to identify 2118 consensual differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in RC and adjacent normal tissue samples, and then applied weighted gene co-expression network analysis to parse DEGs and eight clinical traits in 66 eligible RC samples. A total of 16 co-expressed gene modules were identified. The green-yellow and salmon modules were most appropriate to the pathological stage (R = 0.36) and the overall survival (HR =13.534, P = 0.014), respectively. A diagnostic model of the five pathological stage hub genes (SCG3, SYP, CDK5R2, AP3B2, and RUNDC3A) provided a powerful classification accuracy between localized RC and non-localized RC. We also found increased Secretogranin III (SCG3) expression with higher pathological stage and poorer prognosis in the test and validation set. The increased Homer scaffolding protein 2 (HOMER2) expression with the favorable survival prediction efficiency significantly correlated with the markedly reduced overall survival of RC patients and the higher pathological stage during the test and validation set. Our findings indicate that the SCG3 and HOMER2 mRNA levels should be further evaluated as predictors of pathological stage and survival in patients with RC.

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