PloS one 2017 07 2712(7) e0180616 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0180616
Acquired drug resistance to the chemotherapeutic drug irinotecan (the active metabolite of which is SN-38) is one of the significant obstacles in the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer (CRC). The molecular mechanism or targets mediating irinotecan resistance are still unclear. It is urgent to find the irinotecan response biomarkers to improve CRC patients’ therapy.
Genetic Omnibus Database GSE42387 which contained the gene expression profiles of parental and irinotecan-resistant HCT-116 cell lines was used. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between parental and irinotecan-resistant cells, protein-protein interactions (PPIs), gene ontologies (GOs) and pathway analysis were performed to identify the overall biological changes. The most common DEGs in the PPIs, GOs and pathways were identified and were validated clinically by their ability to predict overall survival and disease free survival. The gene-gene expression correlation and gene-resistance correlation was also evaluated in CRC patients using The Cancer Genomic Atlas data (TCGA).
The 135 DEGs were identified of which 36 were upregulated and 99 were down regulated. After mapping the PPI networks, the GOs and the pathways, nine genes (GNAS, PRKACB, MECOM, PLA2G4C, BMP6, BDNF, DLG4, FGF2 and FGF9) were found to be commonly enriched. Signal transduction was the most significant GO and MAPK pathway was the most significant pathway. The five genes (FGF2, FGF9, PRKACB, MECOM and PLA2G4C) in the MAPK pathway were all contained in the signal transduction and the levels of those genes were upregulated. The FGF2, FGF9 and MECOM expression were highly associated with CRC patients’ survival rate but not PRKACB and PLA2G4C. In addition, FGF9 was also associated with irinotecan resistance and poor disease free survival. FGF2, FGF9 and PRKACB were positively correlated with each other while MECOM correlated positively with FGF9 and PLA2G4C, and correlated negatively with FGF2 and PRKACB after doing gene-gene expression correlation.
Targeting the MAPK signal transduction pathway through the targeting of the FGF2, FGF9, MECOM, PLA2G4C and PRKACB might increase tumor responsiveness to irinotecan treatment.