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Identification and Integrated Analysis of Key Biomarkers for Diagnosis and Prognosis of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Xingyuan Liu, Xuefeng Liu, Jingyuan Li, Fu Ren

College of Basic Medical Sciences, Jinzhou Medical University, Jinzhou, Liaoning, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2019; 25:9280-9289

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.918620

Available online:

Published: 2019-12-05

ABSTRACT: Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the main histologic form of lung cancer that affects human health, but biomarkers for therapeutic diagnosis and prognosis of the disease are currently lacking.
The gene expression profile GSE18842 was downloaded from the Gene Expression Omnibus database in this prospective study, which consisted of 46 tumors and 45 controls. After screening differentially expressed genes (DEGs), we conducted functional enrichment analysis and KEGG analysis with upregulated differentially expressed genes (uDEGs) and downregulated differentially expressed genes (dDEGs), respectively. Protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks among DEGs and corresponding coding protein complexes, constructed using the STRING database, were analyzed using Cytoscape. Kaplan-Meier method was used to verify survival associated with hub genes. The GEPIA webserver was used to plot the gene expression level heat map of hub genes between NSCLC and adjacent lung tissues in the TCGA database.
We identified 368 DEGs (168 uDEGs and 200 dDEGs) in NSCLC samples relative to control samples after gene integration. We established a PPI network for the DEGs, which had 249 nodes and 1472 edges protein pairs. Ten undefined hub genes with the highest connectivity degree (CDK1, UBE2C, AURKA, CCNA2, CDC20, CCNB1, TOP2A, ASPM, MAD2L1, and KIF11) were verified by survival analysis, and 9 of them were associated with poorer overall survival in NSCLC. The expression reliability of hub genes was verified by use of the GEPIA web tool.
The results suggested that UBE2C, AURKA, CCNA2, CDC20, CCNB1, TOP2A, ASPM, MAD2L1, and KIF11 are inherent key biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis, while KEGG analysis results showed the mitotic cell cycle pathway is a probable signaling pathway contributing to NSCLC progression. These genes could be promising biomarkers for diagnosis and provide a new approach for developing targeted therapeutic NSCLC drugs.

Keywords: Biological Markers, Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung, Gene Expression Profiling, transcriptome