Neuroblastoma is the most common pediatric solid tumor of the sympathetic nervous system. Development of improved predictive tools for patients stratification is a crucial requirement for neuroblastoma therapy. Several studies utilized gene expression-based signatures to stratify neuroblastoma patients and demonstrated a clear advantage of adding genomic analysis to risk assessment. There is little overlapping among signatures and merging their prognostic potential would be advantageous. Here, we describe a new strategy to merge published neuroblastoma related gene signatures into a single, highly accurate, Multi-Signature Ensemble (MuSE)-classifier of neuroblastoma (NB) patients outcome.
Gene expression profiles of 182 neuroblastoma tumors, subdivided into three independent datasets, were used in the various phases of development and validation of neuroblastoma NB-MuSE-classifier. Thirty three signatures were evaluated for patients' outcome prediction using 22 classification algorithms each and generating 726 classifiers and prediction results. The best-performing algorithm for each signature was selected, validated on an independent dataset and the 20 signatures performing with an accuracy > = 80% were retained.
We combined the 20 predictions associated to the corresponding signatures through the selection of the best performing algorithm into a single outcome predictor. The best performance was obtained by the Decision Table algorithm that produced the NB-MuSE-classifier characterized by an external validation accuracy of 94%. Kaplan-Meier curves and log-rank test demonstrated that patients with good and poor outcome prediction by the NB-MuSE-classifier have a significantly different survival (p < 0.0001). Survival curves constructed on subgroups of patients divided on the bases of known prognostic marker suggested an excellent stratification of localized and stage 4s tumors but more data are needed to prove this point.
The NB-MuSE-classifier is based on an ensemble approach that merges twenty heterogeneous, neuroblastoma-related gene signatures to blend their discriminating power, rather than numeric values, into a single, highly accurate patients' outcome predictor. The novelty of our approach derives from the way to integrate the gene expression signatures, by optimally associating them with a single paradigm ultimately integrated into a single classifier. This model can be exported to other types of cancer and to diseases for which dedicated databases exist.
In neuroblastoma (NB), the presence of segmental chromosome alterations (SCAs) is associated with a higher risk of relapse.
In order to analyse the role of SCAs in infants with localised unresectable/disseminated NB without MYCN amplification, we have performed an array CGH analysis of tumours from infants enroled in the prospective European INES trials.
Tumour samples from 218 out of 300 enroled patients could be analysed. Segmental chromosome alterations were observed in 11%, 20% and 59% of infants enroled in trials INES99.1 (localised unresectable NB), INES99.2 (stage 4s) and INES99.3 (stage 4) (P<0.0001). Progression-free survival was poorer in patients whose tumours harboured SCA, in the whole population and in trials INES99.1 and INES99.2, in the absence of clinical symptoms (log-rank test, P=0.0001, P=0.04 and P=0.0003, respectively). In multivariate analysis, a SCA genomic profile was the strongest predictor of poorer progression-free survival.
In infants with stage 4s MYCN-non-amplified NB, a SCA genomic profile identifies patients who will require upfront treatment even in the absence of other clinical indication for therapy, whereas in infants with localised unresectable NB, a genomic profile characterised by the absence of SCA identifies patients in whom treatment reduction might be possible. These findings will be implemented in a future international trial.
neuroblastoma; infants; genomic profile; segmental chromosome alterations; prognosis
Using mRNA expression-derived signatures as predictors of individual patient outcome has been a goal ever since the introduction of microarrays. Here, we addressed whether analyses of tumour mRNA at the exon level can improve on the predictive power and classification accuracy of gene-based expression profiles using neuroblastoma as a model.
In a patient cohort comprising 113 primary neuroblastoma specimens expression profiling using exon-level analyses was performed to define predictive signatures using various machine-learning techniques. Alternative transcript use was calculated from relative exon expression. Validation of alternative transcripts was achieved using qPCR- and cell-based approaches.
Both predictors derived from the gene or the exon levels resulted in prediction accuracies >80% for both event-free and overall survival and proved as independent prognostic markers in multivariate analyses. Alternative transcript use was most prominently linked to the amplification status of the MYCN oncogene, expression of the TrkA/NTRK1 neurotrophin receptor and survival.
As exon level-based prediction yields comparable, but not significantly better, prediction accuracy than gene expression-based predictors, gene-based assays seem to be sufficiently precise for predicting outcome of neuroblastoma patients. However, exon-level analyses provide added knowledge by identifying alternative transcript use, which should deepen the understanding of neuroblastoma biology.
exon arrays; prediction; PAM; neuroblastoma; alternative transcript use
Hypoxia is a condition of low oxygen tension occurring in the tumor microenvironment and it is related to poor prognosis in human cancer. To examine the relationship between hypoxia and neuroblastoma, we generated and tested an in vitro derived hypoxia gene signature for its ability to predict patients' outcome.
We obtained the gene expression profile of 11 hypoxic neuroblastoma cell lines and we derived a robust 62 probesets signature (NB-hypo) taking advantage of the strong discriminating power of the l1-l2 feature selection technique combined with the analysis of differential gene expression. We profiled gene expression of the tumors of 88 neuroblastoma patients and divided them according to the NB-hypo expression values by K-means clustering. The NB-hypo successfully stratifies the neuroblastoma patients into good and poor prognosis groups. Multivariate Cox analysis revealed that the NB-hypo is a significant independent predictor after controlling for commonly used risk factors including the amplification of MYCN oncogene. NB-hypo increases the resolution of the MYCN stratification by dividing patients with MYCN not amplified tumors in good and poor outcome suggesting that hypoxia is associated with the aggressiveness of neuroblastoma tumor independently from MYCN amplification.
Our results demonstrate that the NB-hypo is a novel and independent prognostic factor for neuroblastoma and support the view that hypoxia is negatively correlated with tumors' outcome. We show the power of the biology-driven approach in defining hypoxia as a critical molecular program in neuroblastoma and the potential for improvement in the current criteria for risk stratification.
Neuroblastoma remains a major cause of cancer-linked mortality in children. miR-204 has been used in microRNA expression signatures predictive of neuroblastoma patient survival. The aim of this study was to explore the independent association of miR-204 with survival in a neuroblastoma cohort, and to investigate the phenotypic effects mediated by miR-204 expression in neuroblastoma.
Neuroblastoma cell lines were transiently transfected with miR-204 mimics and assessed for cell viability using MTS assays. Apoptosis levels in cell lines were evaluated by FACS analysis of Annexin V-/propidium iodide-stained cells transfected with miR-204 mimics and treated with chemotherapy drug or vehicle control. Potential targets of miR-204 were validated using luciferase reporter assays.
miR-204 expression in primary neuroblastoma tumours was predictive of patient event-free and overall survival, independent of established known risk factors. Ectopic miR-204 expression significantly increased sensitivity to cisplatin and etoposide in vitro. miR-204 direct targeting of the 3′ UTR of BCL2 and NTRK2 (TrkB) was confirmed.
miR-204 is a novel predictor of outcome in neuroblastoma, functioning, at least in part, through increasing sensitivity to cisplatin by direct targeting and downregulation of anti-apoptotic BCL2. miR-204 also targets full-length NTRK2, a potent oncogene involved with chemotherapy drug resistance in neuroblastoma.
miR-204; neuroblastoma; BCL2; NTRK2; tumour suppressor; cisplatin
To identify children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at initial diagnosis who are at risk for inferior response to therapy by using molecular signatures.
Patients and Methods
Gene expression profiles were generated from bone marrow blasts at initial diagnosis from a cohort of 99 children with National Cancer Institute–defined high-risk ALL who were treated uniformly on the Children's Oncology Group (COG) 1961 study. For prediction of early response, genes that correlated to marrow status on day 7 were identified on a training set and were validated on a test set. An additional signature was correlated with long-term outcome, and the predictive models were validated on three large, independent patient cohorts.
We identified a 24–probe set signature that was highly predictive of day 7 marrow status on the test set (P = .0061). Pathways were identified that may play a role in early blast regression. We have also identified a 47–probe set signature (which represents 41 unique genes) that was predictive of long-term outcome in our data set as well as three large independent data sets of patients with childhood ALL who were treated on different protocols. However, we did not find sufficient evidence for the added significance of these genes and the derived predictive models when other known prognostic features, such as age, WBC, and karyotype, were included in a multivariate analysis.
Genes and pathways that play a role in early blast regression may identify patients who may be at risk for inferior responses to treatment. A fully validated predictive gene expression signature was defined for high-risk ALL that provided insight into the biologic mechanisms of treatment failure.
Neuroblastoma is the most common pediatric solid tumor. About fifty percent of high risk patients die despite treatment making the exploration of new and more effective strategies for improving stratification mandatory. Hypoxia is a condition of low oxygen tension occurring in poorly vascularized areas of the tumor associated with poor prognosis. We had previously defined a robust gene expression signature measuring the hypoxic component of neuroblastoma tumors (NB-hypo) which is a molecular risk factor. We wanted to develop a prognostic classifier of neuroblastoma patients' outcome blending existing knowledge on clinical and molecular risk factors with the prognostic NB-hypo signature. Furthermore, we were interested in classifiers outputting explicit rules that could be easily translated into the clinical setting.
Shadow Clustering (SC) technique, which leads to final models called Logic Learning Machine (LLM), exhibits a good accuracy and promises to fulfill the aims of the work. We utilized this algorithm to classify NB-patients on the bases of the following risk factors: Age at diagnosis, INSS stage, MYCN amplification and NB-hypo. The algorithm generated explicit classification rules in good agreement with existing clinical knowledge. Through an iterative procedure we identified and removed from the dataset those examples which caused instability in the rules. This workflow generated a stable classifier very accurate in predicting good and poor outcome patients. The good performance of the classifier was validated in an independent dataset. NB-hypo was an important component of the rules with a strength similar to that of tumor staging.
The novelty of our work is to identify stability, explicit rules and blending of molecular and clinical risk factors as the key features to generate classification rules for NB patients to be conveyed to the clinic and to be used to design new therapies. We derived, through LLM, a set of four stable rules identifying a new class of poor outcome patients that could benefit from new therapies potentially targeting tumor hypoxia or its consequences.
The purpose of this study was to further define the biology of the 11q− neuroblastoma tumor subgroup by the integration of aCGH with miRNA expression profiling data to determine if improved patient stratification is possible.
A set of primary neuroblastoma (n=160) which was broadly representative of all genetic subtypes was analyzed by aCGH and for the expression of 430 miRNAs. A 15 miRNA expression signature previously demonstrated to be predictive of clinical outcome was used to analyze an independent cohort of 11q− tumors (n=37).
Loss of 4p and gain of 7q occurred at a significantly higher frequency in the 11q−tumors, further defining the genetic characteristics of this subtype. The 11q− tumors could be split into two subgroups using a miRNA expression survival signature which differed significantly in both clinical outcome and the overall frequency of large scale genomic imbalances, with the poor survival subgroup having significantly more imbalances. MiRNAs from the expression signature which were up-regulated in unfavorable tumors were predicted to target down-regulated genes from a published mRNA expression classifier of clinical outcome at a higher than expected frequency, indicating the miRNAs might contribute to the regulation of genes within the signature.
We demonstrate that two distinct biological subtypes of neuroblastoma with loss of 11q occur which differ in their miRNA expression profiles, frequency of segmental imbalances and clinical outcome. A miRNA expression signature, combined with an analysis of segmental imbalances, provides greater prediction of EFS and OS outcomes than 11q status by itself, improving patient stratification.
aCGH; MYCN; neuroblastoma; miRNA
Molecular classification of diseases based on multigene expression signatures is increasingly used for diagnosis, prognosis, and prediction of response to therapy. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) is an optimal method for validating expression signatures obtained using high-throughput genomics techniques since IHC allows a pathologist to examine gene expression at the protein level within the context of histologically interpretable tissue sections. Additionally, validated IHC assays may be readily implemented as clinical tests since IHC is performed on routinely processed clinical tissue samples. However, methods have not been available for automated n-gene expression profiling at the protein level using IHC data. We have developed methods to compute expression level maps (signature maps) of multiple genes from IHC data digitized on a commercial whole slide imaging system. Areas of cancer for these expression level maps are defined by a pathologist on adjacent, co-registered H&E slides, allowing assessment of IHC statistics and heterogeneity within the diseased tissue. This novel way of representing multiple IHC assays as signature maps will allow the development of n-gene expression profiling databases in three dimensions throughout virtual whole organ reconstructions.
Breast cancer comprises a collection of diseases with distinctive clinical, histopathological, and molecular features. Importantly, tumors with similar histological features may display disparate clinical behaviors. Gene expression profiling using microarray technologies has improved our understanding of breast cancer biology and has led to the development of a breast cancer molecular taxonomy and of multigene 'signatures' to predict outcome and response to systemic therapies. The use of these prognostic and predictive signatures in routine clinical decision-making remains controversial. Here, we review the clinical relevance of microarray-based profiling of breast cancer and discuss its impact on patient management.
Previously we demonstrated that an mRNA signature reflecting cellular proliferation had strong prognostic value. As clinical applicability of signatures can be controversial, we sought to improve our marker's clinical utility by validating its biological relevance, reproducibility in independent data sets and applicability using an independent technique.
To facilitate signature evaluation with quantitative PCR (qPCR) a novel computational procedure was used to reduce the number of signature genes without significant information loss. These genes were validated in different human cancer cell lines upon serum starvation and in a 168 xenografts panel. Analyses were then extended to breast cancer and non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patient cohorts.
Expression of the qPCR-based signature was dramatically decreased under starvation conditions and inversely correlated with tumour volume doubling time in xenografts. The signature validated in breast cancer (hazard ratio (HR)=1.63, P<0.001, n=1820) and NSCLC adenocarcinoma (HR=1.64, P<0.001, n=639) microarray data sets. Lastly, qPCR in a node-negative, non-adjuvantly treated breast cancer cohort (n=129) showed that patients assigned to the high-proliferation group had worse disease-free survival (HR=2.25, P<0.05).
We have developed and validated a qPCR-based proliferation signature. This test might be used in the clinic to select (early-stage) patients for specific treatments that target proliferation.
biomarkers; gene expression microarray; statistical analysis; prognosis; proliferation
Quantifying chromosomal instability (CIN) has both prognostic and predictive clinical utility in breast cancer. In order to establish a robust and clinically applicable gene expression-based measure of CIN, we assessed the ability of four qPCR quantified genes selected from the 70-gene Chromosomal Instability (CIN70) expression signature to stratify outcome in patients with grade 2 breast cancer.
AURKA, FOXM1, TOP2A and TPX2 (CIN4), were selected from the CIN70 signature due to their high level of correlation with histological grade and mean CIN70 signature expression in silico. We assessed the ability of CIN4 to stratify outcome in an independent cohort of patients diagnosed between 1999 and 2002. 185 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples were included in the qPCR measurement of CIN4 expression. In parallel, ploidy status of tumors was assessed by flow cytometry. We investigated whether the categorical CIN4 score derived from the CIN4 signature was correlated with recurrence-free survival (RFS) and ploidy status in this cohort.
We observed a significant association of tumor proliferation, defined by Ki67 and mitotic index (MI), with both CIN4 expression and aneuploidy. The CIN4 score stratified grade 2 carcinomas into good and poor prognostic cohorts (mean RFS: 83.8±4.9 and 69.4±8.2 months, respectively, p = 0.016) and its predictive power was confirmed by multivariate analysis outperforming MI and Ki67 expression.
The first clinically applicable qPCR derived measure of tumor aneuploidy from FFPE tissue, stratifies grade 2 tumors into good and poor prognosis groups.
Several gene expression signatures have been proposed and demonstrated to be predictive of outcome in breast cancer. In the present article we address the following issues: Do these signatures perform similarly? Are there (common) molecular processes reported by these signatures? Can better prognostic predictors be constructed based on these identified molecular processes?
We performed a comprehensive analysis of the performance of nine gene expression signatures on seven different breast cancer datasets. To better characterize the functional processes associated with these signatures, we enlarged each signature by including all probes with a significant correlation to at least one of the genes in the original signature. The enrichment of functional groups was assessed using four ontology databases.
The classification performance of the nine gene expression signatures is very similar in terms of assigning a sample to either a poor outcome group or a good outcome group. Nevertheless the concordance in classification at the sample level is low, with only 50% of the breast cancer samples classified in the same outcome group by all classifiers. The predictive accuracy decreases with the number of poor outcome assignments given to a sample. The best classification performance was obtained for the group of patients with only good outcome assignments. Enrichment analysis of the enlarged signatures revealed 11 functional modules with prognostic ability. The combination of the RNA-splicing and immune modules resulted in a classifier with high prognostic performance on an independent validation set.
The study revealed that the nine signatures perform similarly but exhibit a large degree of discordance in prognostic group assignment. Functional analyses indicate that proliferation is a common cellular process, but that other functional categories are also enriched and show independent prognostic ability. We provide new evidence of the potentially promising prognostic impact of immunity and RNA-splicing processes in breast cancer.
Accurate outcome prediction in neuroblastoma, which is necessary to enable the optimal choice of risk-related therapy, remains a challenge. To improve neuroblastoma patient stratification, this study aimed to identify prognostic tumor DNA methylation biomarkers.
To identify genes silenced by promoter methylation, we first applied two independent genome-wide methylation screening methodologies to eight neuroblastoma cell lines. Specifically, we used re-expression profiling upon 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (DAC) treatment and massively parallel sequencing after capturing with a methyl-CpG-binding domain (MBD-seq). Putative methylation markers were selected from DAC-upregulated genes through a literature search and an upfront methylation-specific PCR on 20 primary neuroblastoma tumors, as well as through MBD- seq in combination with publicly available neuroblastoma tumor gene expression data. This yielded 43 candidate biomarkers that were subsequently tested by high-throughput methylation-specific PCR on an independent cohort of 89 primary neuroblastoma tumors that had been selected for risk classification and survival. Based on this analysis, methylation of KRT19, FAS, PRPH, CNR1, QPCT, HIST1H3C, ACSS3 and GRB10 was found to be associated with at least one of the classical risk factors, namely age, stage or MYCN status. Importantly, HIST1H3C and GNAS methylation was associated with overall and/or event-free survival.
This study combines two genome-wide methylation discovery methodologies and is the most extensive validation study in neuroblastoma performed thus far. We identified several novel prognostic DNA methylation markers and provide a basis for the development of a DNA methylation-based prognostic classifier in neuroblastoma.
The classification of breast cancer patients into risk groups provides a
powerful tool for the identification of patients who will benefit from
aggressive systemic therapy. The analysis of microarray data has generated
several gene expression signatures that improve diagnosis and allow risk
assessment. There is also evidence that cell proliferation-related genes
have a high predictive power within these signatures.
We thus constructed a gene expression signature (the DM signature) using the
human orthologues of 108 Drosophila melanogaster genes
required for either the maintenance of chromosome integrity (36 genes) or
mitotic division (72 genes).
The DM signature has minimal overlap with the extant signatures and is highly
predictive of survival in 5 large breast cancer datasets. In addition, we
show that the DM signature outperforms many widely used breast cancer
signatures in predictive power, and performs comparably to other
proliferation-based signatures. For most genes of the DM signature, an
increased expression is negatively correlated with patient survival. The
genes that provide the highest contribution to the predictive power of the
DM signature are those involved in cytokinesis.
This finding highlights cytokinesis as an important marker in breast cancer
prognosis and as a possible target for antimitotic therapies.
It is highly challenging to develop reliable diagnostic tests to predict patients’ responsiveness to anticancer treatments on clinical endpoints before commencing the definitive phase III randomized trial. Development and validation of genomic signatures in the randomized trial can be a promising solution. Such signatures are required to predict quantitatively the underlying heterogeneity in the magnitude of treatment effects.
We propose a framework for developing and validating genomic signatures in randomized trials. Codevelopment of predictive and prognostic signatures can allow prediction of patient-level survival curves as basic diagnostic tools for treating individual patients.
We applied our framework to gene-expression microarray data from a large-scale randomized trial to determine whether the addition of thalidomide improves survival for patients with multiple myeloma. The results indicated that approximately half of the patients were responsive to thalidomide, and the average improvement in survival for the responsive patients was statistically significant. Cross-validated patient-level survival curves were developed to predict survival distributions of individual future patients as a function of whether or not they are treated with thalidomide and with regard to their baseline prognostic and predictive signature indices.
The proposed framework represents an important step toward reliable predictive medicine. It provides an internally validated mechanism for using randomized clinical trials to assess treatment efficacy for a patient population in a manner that takes into consideration the heterogeneity in patients’ responsiveness to treatment. It also provides cross-validated patient-level survival curves that can be used for selecting treatments for future patients.
The key to optimising our approach in early breast cancer is to individualise care. Each patient has a tumour with innate features that dictate their chance of relapse and their responsiveness to treatment. Often patients with similar clinical and pathological tumours will have markedly different outcomes and responses to adjuvant intervention. These differences are encoded in the tumour genetic profile. Effective biomarkers may replace or complement traditional clinical and histopathological markers in assessing tumour behaviour and risk. Development of high-throughput genomic technologies is enabling the study of gene expression profiles of tumours. Genomic fingerprints may refine prediction of the course of disease and response to adjuvant interventions. This review will focus on the role of multiparameter gene expression analyses in early breast cancer, with regards to prognosis and prediction. The prognostic role of genomic signatures, particularly the Mammaprint and Rotterdam signatures, is evolving. With regard to prediction of outcome, the Oncotype Dx multigene assay is in clinical use in tamoxifen treated patients. Extensive research continues on predictive gene identification for specific chemotherapeutic agents, particularly the anthracyclines, taxanes and alkylating agents.
Epidemiological studies indicate an increased risk of subsequent primary ovarian cancer from women with breast cancer. We have recently identified a 28-gene expression signature that predicts, with high accuracy, the clinical course in a large population of breast cancer patients. This prognostic gene signature also accurately predicts response to chemotherapy commonly used for treating breast cancer, including CMF, Tamoxifen, Paclitaxel, Docetaxel, and Doxorubicin (Adriamycin), in a panel of 60 cancer cell lines of nine different tissue origins. This prompted us to investigate whether this prognostic gene signature could also predict clinical outcome in other cancer types of epithelial origins, including ovarian cancer (n = 124), colon tumors (n = 74), and lung adenocarcinomas (n = 442). The results show that the gene expression signature contributes significantly more accurate (P < 0.05; compared with random prediction) prognostic information in multiple cancer types independent of established clinical parameters. Furthermore, the functional pathway analysis with curated database delineated a biological network with tight connections between the signature genes and numerous well established cancer hallmarks, indicating important roles of this prognostic gene signature in tumor genesis and progression.
prognostic gene signature; breast cancer; ovarian cancer; colon cancer; lung adenocarcinoma
This study aims to explore gene expression signatures and serum biomarkers to predict intrinsic chemoresistance in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC).
Patients and Methods
Gene expression profiling data of 322 high-grade EOC cases between 2009 and 2010 in The Cancer Genome Atlas project (TCGA) were used to develop and validate gene expression signatures that could discriminate different responses to first-line platinum/paclitaxel-based treatments. A gene regulation network was then built to further identify hub genes responsible for differential gene expression between the complete response (CR) group and the progressive disease (PD) group. Further, to find more robust serum biomarkers for clinical application, we integrated our gene signatures and gene signatures reported previously to identify secretory protein-encoding genes by searching the DAVID database. In the end, gene-drug interaction network was constructed by searching Comparative Toxicogenomics Database (CTD) and literature.
A 349-gene predictive model and an 18-gene model independent of key clinical features with high accuracy were developed for prediction of chemoresistance in EOC. Among them, ten important hub genes and six critical signaling pathways were identified to have important implications in chemotherapeutic response. Further, ten potential serum biomarkers were identified for predicting chemoresistance in EOC. Finally, we suggested some drugs for individualized treatment.
We have developed the predictive models and serum biomarkers for platinum/paclitaxel response and established the new approach to discover potential serum biomarkers from gene expression profiles. The potential drugs that target hub genes are also suggested.
Gene expression profiling of human breast tumors has uncovered several molecular signatures that can divide breast cancer patients into good and poor outcome groups. However, these signatures typically comprise many genes (~50-100), and the prognostic tests associated with identifying these signatures in patient tumor specimens require complicated methods, which are not routinely available in most hospital pathology laboratories, thus limiting their use. Hence, there is a need for more practical methods to predict patient survival.
We modified a feature selection algorithm and used survival analysis to derive a 2-gene signature that accurately predicts breast cancer patient survival.
We developed a tree based decision method that segregated patients into various risk groups using KIAA0191 expression in the context of E2F1 expression levels. This approach led to highly accurate survival predictions in a large cohort of breast cancer patients using only a 2-gene signature.
Our observations suggest a possible relationship between E2F1 and KIAA0191 expression that is relevant to the pathogenesis of breast cancer. Furthermore, our findings raise the prospect that the practicality of patient prognosis methods may be improved by reducing the number of genes required for analysis. Indeed, our E2F1/KIAA0191 2-gene signature would be highly amenable for an immunohistochemistry based test, which is commonly used in hospital laboratories.
It remains a critical issue to reliably identify specific patients at high risk for recurrence and metastasis of lung cancer. To date, there has been no clinically applied gene test for predicting lung cancer recurrence. This study validated a 35-gene prognostic signature in various cell types of non-small cell lung cancer. The analysis showed that the 35-gene signature could further stratify patients at stage 1A into distinct prognostic subgroups. This lung cancer prognostic signature is independent of traditional clinicopathological factors, including patient age, clinical stage, tumor differentiation, and tumor grade. This signature had better prognostic performance than other lung cancer signatures, including the 5-gene signature and the 133-gene signature in the studied cohorts. The gene expression and protein expression of the identified biomarkers were validated in real-time RT-PCR and Western blots analysis of clinical specimens. This study indicates that the 35-gene signature could be applied in clinics for patient stratification.
It remains a critical challenge to determine the risk for recurrence in early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Accurate gene expression signatures are needed to classify patients into high- and low-risk groups to improve the selection of patients for adjuvant therapy.
Multiple published microarray datasets were used to evaluate our previously identified lung cancer prognostic gene signature. Expression of the signature genes was further validated with real-time RT-PCR and Western blot assays of snap frozen lung cancer tumor tissues.
Our previously identified 35-gene signature stratified 264 patients with non-small cell lung cancer into high- and low-risk groups with distinct overall survival rates (P < 0.05, Kaplan-Meier analysis, log-rank tests). The 35-gene signature further stratified patients with clinical stage 1A diseases into poor prognostic and good prognostic subgroups (P = 0.0007, Kaplan-Meier analysis, log-rank tests). This signature is independent of other prognostic factors for non-small cell lung cancer, including age, sex, tumor differentiation, tumor grade, and tumor stage. The expression of the signature genes was validated with real-time RT-PCR analysis of lung cancer tumor specimens. Protein expression of two signature genes, TAL2 and ILF3, was confirmed in lung adenocarcinoma tumors by using Western blot analysis. These two biomarkers showed correlated mRNA and protein over-expression in lung cancer development and progression.
The results indicate that the identified 35-gene signature is an accurate predictor of survival in non-small cell lung cancer. It provides independent prognostic information in addition to traditional clinicopathological criteria.
molecular signature; non-small cell lung cancer; prognosis; microarray analysis; protein expression; Western blots
Chemotherapy induces apoptosis and tumor regression primarily through activation of p53-mediated transcription. Neuroblastoma is a p53 wild type malignancy at diagnosis and repression of p53 signaling plays an important role in its pathogenesis. Recently developed small molecule inhibitors of the MDM2-p53 interaction are able to overcome this repression and potently activate p53 dependent apoptosis in malignancies with intact p53 downstream signaling. We used the small molecule MDM2 inhibitor, Nutlin-3a, to determine the p53 drug response signature in neuroblastoma cells. In addition to p53 mediated apoptotic signatures, GSEA and pathway analysis identified a set of p53-repressed genes that were reciprocally over-expressed in neuroblastoma patients with the worst overall outcome in multiple clinical cohorts. Multifactorial regression analysis identified a subset of four genes (CHAF1A, RRM2, MCM3, and MCM6) whose expression together strongly predicted overall and event-free survival (p<0.0001). The expression of these four genes was then validated by quantitative PCR in a large independent clinical cohort. Our findings further support the concept that oncogene-driven transcriptional networks opposing p53 activation are essential for the aggressive behavior and poor response to therapy of high-risk neuroblastoma.
Few overlap between independently developed gene signatures and poor inter-study applicability of gene signatures are two of major concerns raised in the development of microarray-based prognostic gene signatures. One recent study suggested that thousands of samples are needed to generate a robust prognostic gene signature.
A data set of 1,372 samples was generated by combining eight breast cancer gene expression data sets produced using the same microarray platform and, using the data set, effects of varying samples sizes on a few performances of a prognostic gene signature were investigated. The overlap between independently developed gene signatures was increased linearly with more samples, attaining an average overlap of 16.56% with 600 samples. The concordance between predicted outcomes by different gene signatures also was increased with more samples up to 94.61% with 300 samples. The accuracy of outcome prediction also increased with more samples. Finally, analysis using only Estrogen Receptor-positive (ER+) patients attained higher prediction accuracy than using both patients, suggesting that sub-type specific analysis can lead to the development of better prognostic gene signatures
Increasing sample sizes generated a gene signature with better stability, better concordance in outcome prediction, and better prediction accuracy. However, the degree of performance improvement by the increased sample size was different between the degree of overlap and the degree of concordance in outcome prediction, suggesting that the sample size required for a study should be determined according to the specific aims of the study.
There has been great interest in attempting to
identify gene expression signatures that predict cancer survival. In this study a new
algorithm is developed to analyse gene expression datasets that accurately classify both ER+
and ER− breast cancers into low- and high-risk groups.
Cancer patients are often overtreated because of a failure to identify low-risk cancer
patients. Thus far, no algorithm has been able to successfully generate cancer prognostic
gene signatures with high accuracy and robustness in order to identify these patients. In
this paper, we developed an algorithm that identifies prognostic markers using tumour gene
microarrays focusing on metastasis-driving gene expression signals. Application of the
algorithm to breast cancer samples identified prognostic gene signature sets for both
estrogen receptor (ER) negative (−) and positive (+) subtypes. A combinatorial use of the
signatures allowed the stratification of patients into low-, intermediate- and high-risk
groups in both the training set and in eight independent testing sets containing 1,375
samples. The predictive accuracy for the low-risk group reached 87–100%. Integrative network
analysis identified modules in which each module contained the genes of a signature and
their direct interacting partners that are cancer driver-mutating genes. These modules are
recurrent in many breast tumours and contribute to metastasis.
The development of expression-based gene signatures for predicting prognosis or class membership is a popular and challenging task. Besides their stringent validation, signatures need a functional interpretation and must be placed in a biological context. Popular tools such as Gene Set Enrichment have drawbacks because they are restricted to annotated genes and are unable to capture the information hidden in the signature’s non-annotated genes.
We propose concepts to relate a signature with functional gene sets like pathways or Gene Ontology categories. The connection between single signature genes and a specific pathway is explored by hierarchical variable selection and gene association networks. The risk score derived from an individual patient’s signature is related to expression patterns of pathways and Gene Ontology categories. Global tests are useful for these tasks, and they adjust for other factors. GlobalAncova is used to explore the effect on gene expression in specific functional groups from the interaction of the score and selected mutations in the patient’s genome.
We apply the proposed methods to an expression data set and a corresponding gene signature for predicting survival in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). The example demonstrates strong relations between the signature and cancer-related pathways. The signature-based risk score was found to be associated with development-related biological processes.
Many authors interpret the functional aspects of a gene signature by linking signature genes to pathways or relevant functional gene groups. The method of gene set enrichment is preferred to annotating signature genes to specific Gene Ontology categories. The strategies proposed in this paper go beyond the restriction of annotation and deepen the insights into the biological mechanisms reflected in the information given by a signature.