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RNA Sequencing Uncovers Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Pathological Complete Response to Chemotherapy in Patients with Operable Breast Cancer

Yongfeng Li, Xiaozhen Liu, Hongchao Tang, Hongjian Yang, Xuli Meng

Department of Breast Surgery, Zhejiang Cancer Hospital, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:4321-4327

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.903272

Available online:

Published: 2017-09-07

BACKGROUND: This study aimed to identify key genes contributing to pathological complete response (pCR) to chemotherapy by mRNA sequencing (RNA-seq).
MATERIAL AND METHODS: RNA was extracted from the frozen biopsy tissue of patients with pathological complete response and patients with non-pathological complete response. Sequencing was performed on the HiSeq2000 platform. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified between the pCR group and non-pCR (NpCR) group. Pathway enrichment analysis of DEGs was performed. A protein-protein interaction network was constructed, then module analysis was performed to identify a subnetwork. Finally, transcription factors were predicted.
RESULTS: A total of 673 DEGs were identified, including 419 upregulated ones and 254 downregulated ones. The PPI network constructed consisted of 276 proteins forming 471 PPI pairs, and a subnetwork containing 18 protein nodes was obtained. Pathway enrichment analysis revealed that PLCB4 and ADCY6 were enriched in pathways renin secretion, gastric acid secretion, gap junction, inflammatory mediator regulation of TRP channels, retrograde endocannabinoid signaling, melanogenesis, cGMP-PKG signaling pathway, calcium signaling pathway, chemokine signaling pathway, cAMP signaling pathway, and rap1 signaling pathway. CNR1 was enriched in the neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction pathway, retrograde endocannabinoid signaling pathway, and rap1 signaling pathway. The transcription factor-gene network consists of 15 transcription factors and 16 targeted genes, of which 5 were downregulated and 10 were upregulated.
CONCLUSIONS: We found key genes that may contribute to pCR to chemotherapy, such as PLCB4, ADCY6, and CNR1, as well as some transcription factors.

Keywords: Achaete-Scute Complex Genome Region, Breast Neoplasms, Male, Clinical Conference