Identification of key regulators of pancreatic cancer progression through multidimensional systems-level analysis
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CitationRajamani, Deepa, and Manoj K. Bhasin. 2016. “Identification of key regulators of pancreatic cancer progression through multidimensional systems-level analysis.” Genome Medicine 8 (1): 38. doi:10.1186/s13073-016-0282-3. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13073-016-0282-3.
AbstractBackground: Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive cancer with dismal prognosis, urgently necessitating better biomarkers to improve therapeutic options and early diagnosis. Traditional approaches of biomarker detection that consider only one aspect of the biological continuum like gene expression alone are limited in their scope and lack robustness in identifying the key regulators of the disease. We have adopted a multidimensional approach involving the cross-talk between the omics spaces to identify key regulators of disease progression. Methods: Multidimensional domain-specific disease signatures were obtained using rank-based meta-analysis of individual omics profiles (mRNA, miRNA, DNA methylation) related to pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). These domain-specific PDAC signatures were integrated to identify genes that were affected across multiple dimensions of omics space in PDAC (genes under multiple regulatory controls, GMCs). To further pin down the regulators of PDAC pathophysiology, a systems-level network was generated from knowledge-based interaction information applied to the above identified GMCs. Key regulators were identified from the GMC network based on network statistics and their functional importance was validated using gene set enrichment analysis and survival analysis. Results: Rank-based meta-analysis identified 5391 genes, 109 miRNAs and 2081 methylation-sites significantly differentially expressed in PDAC (false discovery rate ≤ 0.05). Bimodal integration of meta-analysis signatures revealed 1150 and 715 genes regulated by miRNAs and methylation, respectively. Further analysis identified 189 altered genes that are commonly regulated by miRNA and methylation, hence considered GMCs. Systems-level analysis of the scale-free GMCs network identified eight potential key regulator hubs, namely E2F3, HMGA2, RASA1, IRS1, NUAK1, ACTN1, SKI and DLL1, associated with important pathways driving cancer progression. Survival analysis on individual key regulators revealed that higher expression of IRS1 and DLL1 and lower expression of HMGA2, ACTN1 and SKI were associated with better survival probabilities. Conclusions: It is evident from the results that our hierarchical systems-level multidimensional analysis approach has been successful in isolating the converging regulatory modules and associated key regulatory molecules that are potential biomarkers for pancreatic cancer progression. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13073-016-0282-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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