Despite disparities in lung cancer incidence and mortality, the molecular landscape of lung cancer in patients of African ancestry remains underexplored, and race-related differences in RNA splicing remain unexplored.
We identified differentially spliced genes (DSGs) and differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in biobanked lung squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC) between patients of West African and European ancestry, using ancestral genotyping and Affymetrix Clariom D array. DSGs and DEGs were validated independently using the National Cancer Institute Genomic Data Commons. Associated biological processes, overlapping canonical pathways, enriched gene sets, and cancer relevance were identified using Gene Ontology Consortium, Ingenuity Pathway Analysis, Gene Set Enrichment Analysis, and CancerMine, respectively. Association with LUSC survival was conducted using The Cancer Genome Atlas.
4,829 DSGs and 267 DEGs were identified, including novel targets in NSCLC as well as genes identified previously to have relevance to NSCLC. RNA splicing events within 3 DSGs as well as 1 DEG were validated in the independent cohort. 853 DSGs and 29 DEGs have been implicated as potential drivers, oncogenes and/or tumor suppressor genes. Biological processes enriched among DSGs and DEGs included metabolic process, biological regulation, and multicellular organismal process and, among DSGs, ion transport. Overlapping canonical pathways among DSGs included neuronal signaling pathways and, among DEGs, cell metabolism involving biosynthesis. Gene sets enriched among DSGs included KRAS Signaling, UV Response, E2 F Targets, Glycolysis, and Coagulation. 355 RNA splicing events within DSGs and 18 DEGs show potential association with LUSC patient survival.
These DSGs and DEGs, which show potential biological and clinical relevance, could have the ability to drive novel biomarker and therapeutic development to mitigate LUSC disparities.

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