J Cancer 2020; 11(7):1712-1726. doi:10.7150/jca.38379 This issue

Research Paper

The Identification of Key Gene Expression Signature and Biological Pathways in Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma

Lin Bao1*, Ye Zhao3*, ChenChen Liu1*, Qi Cao1, Yu Huang1, Ke Chen1✉, Zhengshuai Song2✉

1. Department of Urology, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430022, China.
2. Department of Urology, The Central Hospital of Wuhan, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology.
3. Cancer Center, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430022, China.
* These authors contributed equally.

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Citation:
Bao L, Zhao Y, Liu C, Cao Q, Huang Y, Chen K, Song Z. The Identification of Key Gene Expression Signature and Biological Pathways in Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma. J Cancer 2020; 11(7):1712-1726. doi:10.7150/jca.38379. Available from https://www.jcancer.org/v11p1712.htm

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Abstract

Purpose: To investigate the potential mechanisms contributing to metastasis of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC), screen the hub genes, associated pathways of metastatic ccRCC and identify potential biomarkers.

Methods: The ccRCC metastasis gene expression profile GSE47352 was employed to analyze the differentially expressed genes (DEGs). DAVID was performed to assess Gene ontology (GO) and the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analyses. The protein-protein interaction (PPI) network and modules were constructed. The function pathway, prognostic and diagnostic analysis of these hub genes was picked out to estimate their potential effects on metastasis of ccRCC.

Results: A total of 873 DEGs were identified (503 upregulated genes and 370 downregulated genes). Meanwhile, top 20 hub genes were displayed. GO analysis showed that the top 20 hub genes were enriched in regulation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling, positive regulation of DNA replication, protein autophosphorylation, protein tyrosine kinase activity, etc. KEGG analysis indicated these hub genes were enriched in the Ras signaling pathway, PI3K-Akt signaling pathway, HIF-1 signaling pathway, Pathways in cancer, etc. The GO and KEGG enrichment analyses for the hub genes disclosed important biological features of metastatic ccRCC. PPI network showed the interaction of top 20 hub genes. Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) revealed that some of the hub genes was associated with metastasis, epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT), hypoxia cancer and adipogenesis of ccRCC. Some top hub genes were distinctive and new discoveries compared with that of the existing associated researches.

Conclusions: Our analysis uncovered that changes in signal pathways such as Ras signaling pathway, PI3K-Akt signaling pathway, etc. may be the main signatures of metastatic ccRCC. We identified several candidate biomarkers related with overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) of ccRCC patients. Accordingly, they might be novel therapeutic targets and used as potential biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis of ccRCC.

Keywords: clear cell renal cell carcinoma, metastasis, biomarker, diagnosis, prognosis.