This study aimed to identify a novel disease-associated differentially co-expressed mRNA-microRNA (miRNA) that is associated with vasculogenic mimicry (VM) and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) network at different stages of melanoma. By applying weighted gene co-expression network analysis, we constructed a VM+EMT biological network with the available microarray dataset downloaded from a public database. Quantitative real-time PCR, immunohistochemical staining, and CD31-periodic acid solution dual staining were performed to confirm the expression of genes associated with EMT and VM formation in subjects with malignant melanoma (n = 18) and primary melanoma (n = 13) and in healthy subjects (n = 10). Our findings suggested that phosphatidylserine-specific phospholipase A1-alpha (PLA1A) and dermokine (DMKN) genes function as oncogenes that trigger VM and EMT processes during melanomagenesis on interaction with miR-370, miR-563, and miR-770-5p. PLA1A and DMKN genes can be considered potential VM+EMT network-based diagnostic biomarkers for distinguishing between melanoma patients. We postulate that a network with altered PLA1A/miR-563 and DMNK/miR-770-5p/miR-370 may contribute to melanomagenesis by triggering the EMT signaling pathway and VM formation. This study provides a potentially valuable approach for the early diagnosis and prognosis of melanoma progression.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.