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Identification of Potentially Functional CircRNA-miRNA-mRNA Regulatory Network in Gastric Carcinoma using Bioinformatics Analysis

Guodong Yang, Yujiao Zhang, Jiyuan Yang

Department of Oncology, The First People’s Hospital Affiliated to Yangtze University, Jingzhou, Hubei, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2019; 25:8777-8796

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.916902

Available online:

Published: 2019-11-20

BACKGROUND: As all we know, gastric cancer (GC) is a highly aggressive disease. Recently, circular RNA (circRNA) was found to play a vital role in regulation of GC. Some circRNAs could regulate messenger RNA (mRNA) expression by functioning as a microRNA (miRNA) sponge. Nevertheless, the circRNA-miRNA-mRNA regulatory network involved GC rarely has been explored and researched.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: All the differentially expressed circRNAs, miRNAs, and mRNA were derived from Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) microarray data (GSE78092, GSE89143, GSE93415, and GSE54129). GC level 3 miRNA-sequencing data and clinical information were downloaded from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database. Furthermore, a circRNA-miRNA-mRNA regulatory network was constructed by Cytoscape (version 3.6.1). Gene Ontology (GO) analysis and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway revealed the functions and signaling pathways associated with these target genes. Hub genes of protein-protein interaction (PPI) network were identified by STRING database and cytoHubba.
RESULTS: The regulatory network consists of 3 circRNAs, 22 miRNAs, and 128 mRNAs. Only 3 miRNAs of the network were consistent with the expression of TCGA and were associated with some clinical features. The results of the functional analysis of 128 mRNAs showed that GO analysis and KEGG pathways of inclusion criteria were 49 and 24, respectively. PPI network and Cytoscape showed that the top 10 hub genes were MYC, CTGF, TGFBR2, TGFBR1, SERPINE1, KRAS, ZEB1, THBS1, CDK6, and TNS1; 4 of which were verified by GEPIA based on TCGA. Highly expressed SERPINE1 had a poor OS (over survival) and DFS (disease-free survival), and TGFBR1 expression increased along with the increase of clinical stages.
CONCLUSIONS: This study looked at a circRNA-miRNA-mRNA regulatory network associated with GC and explored the potential functions of mRNA in the network, then identified a new molecular marker for prediction, prognosis, and therapeutic targets for clinical patients.

Keywords: Computational Biology, Biological Markers, Stomach Neoplasms, Gene Expression Profiling