To date, microarray analyses have led to the discovery of numerous individual molecular signatures' associated with specific cancers. However, there are serious limitations for the adoption of these multi-gene signatures in the clinical environment for diagnostic or prognostic testing as studies with more power need to be carried out. This may involve larger richer cohorts and more advanced analyses. In this study, we conduct analyses-based on gene regulatory network-to reveal distinct and common biomarkers across cancer types. Using microarray data of triple-negative and medullary breast, ovarian and lung cancers applied to a combination of glasso and Bayesian networks (BNs), we derived a unique networkcontaining genes that are uniquely involved: small proline-rich protein 1A (SPRR1A), follistatin like 1 (FSTL1), collagen type XII alpha 1 (COL12A1) and RAD51 associated protein 1 (RAD51AP1). RAD51AP1 and FSTL1 are significantly overexpressed in ovarian cancer patients but only RAD51AP1 is upregulated in lung cancer patients compared with healthy controls. The upregulation of RAD51AP1 was mirrored in the bloods of both ovarian and lung cancer patients, and Kaplan-Meier (KM) plots predicted poorer overall survival (OS) in patients with high expression of RAD51AP1. Suppression of RAD51AP1 by RNA interference reduced cell proliferation in vitro in ovarian (SKOV3) and lung (A549) cancer cells. This effect appears to be modulated by a decrease in the expression of mTOR-related genes and pro-metastatic candidate genes. Our data describe how an initial in silico approach can generate novel biomarkers that could potentially support current clinical practice and improve long-term outcomes.
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