Molecular Network-Based Drug Prediction in Thyroid Cancer.
ABSTRACT: As a common malignant tumor disease, thyroid cancer lacks effective preventive and therapeutic drugs. Thus, it is crucial to provide an effective drug selection method for thyroid cancer patients. The connectivity map (CMAP) project provides an experimental validated strategy to repurpose and optimize cancer drugs, the rationale behind which is to select drugs to reverse the gene expression variations induced by cancer. However, it has a few limitations. Firstly, CMAP was performed on cell lines, which are usually different from human tissues. Secondly, only gene expression information was considered, while the information about gene regulations and modules/pathways was more or less ignored. In this study, we first measured comprehensively the perturbations of thyroid cancer on a patient including variations at gene expression level, gene co-expression level and gene module level. After that, we provided a drug selection pipeline to reverse the perturbations based on drug signatures derived from tissue studies. We applied the analyses pipeline to the cancer genome atlas (TCGA) thyroid cancer data consisting of 56 normal and 500 cancer samples. As a result, we obtained 812 up-regulated and 213 down-regulated genes, whose functions are significantly enriched in extracellular matrix and receptor localization to synapses. In addition, a total of 33,778 significant differentiated co-expressed gene pairs were found, which form a larger module associated with impaired immune function and low immunity. Finally, we predicted drugs and gene perturbations that could reverse the gene expression and co-expression changes incurred by the development of thyroid cancer through the Fisher's exact test. Top predicted drugs included validated drugs like baclofen, nevirapine, glucocorticoid, formaldehyde and so on. Combining our analyses with literature mining, we inferred that the regulation of thyroid hormone secretion might be closely related to the inhibition of the proliferation of thyroid cancer cells.
Project description:Background:The molecular mechanisms and genetic markers of thyroid cancer are unclear. In this study, we used bioinformatics to screen for key genes and pathways associated with thyroid cancer development and to reveal its potential molecular mechanisms. Methods:The GSE3467, GSE3678, GSE33630, and GSE53157 expression profiles downloaded from the Gene Expression Omnibus database (GEO) contained a total of 164 tissue samples (64 normal thyroid tissue samples and 100 thyroid cancer samples). The four datasets were integrated and analyzed by the RobustRankAggreg (RRA) method to obtain differentially expressed genes (DEGs). Using these DEGs, we performed gene ontology (GO) functional annotation, pathway analysis, protein-protein interaction (PPI) analysis and survival analysis. Then, CMap was used to identify the candidate small molecules that might reverse thyroid cancer gene expression. Results:By integrating the four datasets, 330 DEGs, including 154 upregulated and 176 downregulated genes, were identified. GO analysis showed that the upregulated genes were mainly involved in extracellular region, extracellular exosome, and heparin binding. The downregulated genes were mainly concentrated in thyroid hormone generation and proteinaceous extracellular matrix. Pathway analysis showed that the upregulated DEGs were mainly attached to ECM-receptor interaction, p53 signaling pathway, and TGF-beta signaling pathway. Downregulation of DEGs was mainly involved in tyrosine metabolism, mineral absorption, and thyroxine biosynthesis. Among the top 30 hub genes obtained in PPI network, the expression levels of FN1, NMU, CHRDL1, GNAI1, ITGA2, GNA14 and AVPR1A were associated with the prognosis of thyroid cancer. Finally, four small molecules that could reverse the gene expression induced by thyroid cancer, namely ikarugamycin, adrenosterone, hexamethonium bromide and clofazimine, were obtained in the CMap database. Conclusion:The identification of the key genes and pathways enhances the understanding of the molecular mechanisms for thyroid cancer. In addition, these key genes may be potential therapeutic targets and biomarkers for the treatment of thyroid cancer.
Project description:Background: Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains the leading cause of cancer morbidity and mortality worldwide. In the present study, we identified novel biomarkers associated with the pathogenesis of NSCLC aiming to provide new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for NSCLC. Methods: The microarray datasets of GSE18842, GSE30219, GSE31210, GSE32863 and GSE40791 from Gene Expression Omnibus database were downloaded. The differential expressed genes (DEGs) between NSCLC and normal samples were identified by limma package. The construction of protein-protein interaction (PPI) network, module analysis and enrichment analysis were performed using bioinformatics tools. The expression and prognostic values of hub genes were validated by GEPIA database and real-time quantitative PCR. Based on these DEGs, the candidate small molecules for NSCLC were identified by the CMap database. Results: A total of 408 overlapping DEGs including 109 up-regulated and 296 down-regulated genes were identified; 300 nodes and 1283 interactions were obtained from the PPI network. The most significant biological process and pathway enrichment of DEGs were response to wounding and cell adhesion molecules, respectively. Six DEGs (PTTG1, TYMS, ECT2, COL1A1, SPP1 and CDCA5) which significantly up-regulated in NSCLC tissues, were selected as hub genes according to the results of module analysis. The GEPIA database further confirmed that patients with higher expression levels of these hub genes experienced a shorter overall survival. Additionally, CMap predicted the 20 most significant small molecules as potential therapeutic drugs for NSCLC. DL-thiorphan was the most promising small molecule to reverse the NSCLC gene expression. Conclusions: Based on the gene expression profiles of 696 NSCLC samples and 237 normal samples, we first revealed that PTTG1, TYMS, ECT2, COL1A1, SPP1 and CDCA5 could act as the promising novel diagnostic and therapeutic targets for NSCLC. Our work will contribute to clarifying the molecular mechanisms of NSCLC initiation and progression.
Project description:Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine cancer. Particularly, papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) accounts for the highest proportion of thyroid cancer. Up to now, there are few researches discussing the pathogenesis and progression mechanisms of PTC from the viewpoint of systems biology approaches. In this study, first we constructed the candidate genetic and epigenetic network (GEN) consisting of candidate protein-protein interaction network (PPIN) and candidate gene regulatory network (GRN) by big database mining. Secondly, system identification and system order detection methods were applied to prune candidate GEN via next-generation sequencing (NGS) and DNA methylation profiles to obtain the real GEN. After that, we extracted core GENs from real GENs by the principal network projection (PNP) method. To investigate the pathogenic and progression mechanisms in each stage of PTC, core GEN was denoted in respect of KEGG pathways. Finally, by comparing two successive core signaling pathways of PTC, we not only shed light on the causes of PTC progression, but also identified essential biomarkers with specific gene expression signature. Moreover, based on the identified gene expression signature, we suggested potential candidate drugs to prevent the progression of PTC with querying Connectivity Map (CMap).
Project description:Differential gene analyses on gastric cancer usually focus on expression change of single genes between tumor and adjacent normal tissues. However, besides changes on single genes, there are also coexpression and expression network module changes during the development of gastric cancer. In this study, we proposed a pipeline to investigate various levels of changes between gastric cancer and adjacent normal tissues, which were used to repurpose potential drugs for treating gastric cancer. Specifically, we performed a series of analyses on 242 gastric cancer samples (33-normal, 209-cancer) downloaded from the cancer genome atlas (TCGA), including data quality control, differential gene analysis, gene coexpression network analysis, module function enrichment analysis, differential coexpression analysis, differential pathway analysis, and screening of potential therapeutic drugs. In the end, we discovered some genes and pathways that are significantly different between cancer and adjacent normal tissues (such as the interleukin-4 and interleukin-13 signaling pathway) and screened perturbed genes by 2703 drugs that have a high overlap with the identified differentially expressed genes. Our pipeline might be useful for understanding cancer pathogenesis as well as gastric cancer treatment.
Project description:Drug repurposing has become an increasingly attractive approach to drug development owing to the ever-growing cost of new drug discovery and frequent withdrawal of successful drugs caused by side effect issues. Here, we devised Functional Module Connectivity Map (FMCM) for the discovery of repurposed drug compounds for systems treatment of complex diseases, and applied it to colorectal adenocarcinoma. FMCM used multiple functional gene modules to query the Connectivity Map (CMap). The functional modules were built around hub genes identified, through a gene selection by trend-of-disease-progression (GSToP) procedure, from condition-specific gene-gene interaction networks constructed from sets of cohort gene expression microarrays. The candidate drug compounds were restricted to drugs exhibiting predicted minimal intracellular harmful side effects. We tested FMCM against the common practice of selecting drugs using a genomic signature represented by a single set of individual genes to query CMap (IGCM), and found FMCM to have higher robustness, accuracy, specificity, and reproducibility in identifying known anti-cancer agents. Among the 46 drug candidates selected by FMCM for colorectal adenocarcinoma treatment, 65% had literature support for association with anti-cancer activities, and 60% of the drugs predicted to have harmful effects on cancer had been reported to be associated with carcinogens/immune suppressors. Compounds were formed from the selected drug candidates where in each compound the component drugs collectively were beneficial to all the functional modules while no single component drug was harmful to any of the modules. In cell viability tests, we identified four candidate drugs: GW-8510, etacrynic acid, ginkgolide A, and 6-azathymine, as having high inhibitory activities against cancer cells. Through microarray experiments we confirmed the novel functional links predicted for three candidate drugs: phenoxybenzamine (broad effects), GW-8510 (cell cycle), and imipenem (immune system). We believe FMCM can be usefully applied to repurposed drug discovery for systems treatment of other types of cancer and other complex diseases.
Project description:Perturbing a signaling system with a serial of single gene deletions and then observing corresponding expression changes in model organisms, such as yeast, is an important and widely used experimental technique for studying signaling pathways. People have developed different computational methods to analyze the perturbation data from gene deletion experiments for exploring the signaling pathways. The most popular methods/techniques include K-means clustering and hierarchical clustering techniques, or combining the expression data with knowledge, such as protein-protein interactions (PPIs) or gene ontology (GO), to search for new pathways. However, these methods neither consider nor fully utilize the intrinsic relation between the perturbation of a pathway and expression changes of genes regulated by the pathway, which served as the main motivation for developing a new computational method in this study. In our new model, we first find gene transcriptomic modules such that genes in each module are highly likely to be regulated by a common signal. We then use the expression status of those modules as readouts of pathway perturbations to search for up-stream pathways. Systematic evaluation, such as through gene ontology enrichment analysis, has provided evidence that genes in each transcriptomic module are highly likely to be regulated by a common signal. The PPI density analysis and literature search revealed that our new perturbation modules are functionally coherent. For example, the literature search revealed that 9 genes in one of our perturbation module are related to cell cycle and all 10 genes in another perturbation module are related by DNA damage, with much evidence from the literature coming from in vitro or/and in vivo verifications. Hence, utilizing the intrinsic relation between the perturbation of a pathway and the expression changes of genes regulated by the pathway is a useful method of searching for signaling pathways using genetic perturbation data. This model would also be suitable for analyzing drug experiment data, such as the CMap data, for finding drugs that perturb the same pathways.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is an aggressive tumor with a poor prognosis. Currently, only sorafenib is approved by the FDA for advanced HCC treatment; therefore, there is an urgent need to discover candidate therapeutic drugs for HCC. We hypothesized that if a drug signature could reverse, at least in part, the gene expression signature of HCC, it might have the potential to inhibit HCC-related pathways and thereby treat HCC. To test this hypothesis, we first built an integrative platform, the "Encyclopedia of Hepatocellular Carcinoma genes Online 2", dubbed EHCO2, to systematically collect, organize and compare the publicly available data from HCC studies. The resulting collection includes a total of 4,020 genes. To systematically query the Connectivity Map (CMap), which includes 6,100 drug-mediated expression profiles, we further designed various gene signature selection and enrichment methods, including a randomization technique, majority vote, and clique analysis. Subsequently, 28 out of 50 prioritized drugs, including tanespimycin, trichostatin A, thioguanosine, and several anti-psychotic drugs with anti-tumor activities, were validated via MTT cell viability assays and clonogenic assays in HCC cell lines. To accelerate their future clinical use, possibly through drug-repurposing, we selected two well-established drugs to test in mice, chlorpromazine and trifluoperazine. Both drugs inhibited orthotopic liver tumor growth. In conclusion, we successfully discovered and validated existing drugs for potential HCC therapeutic use with the pipeline of Connectivity Map analysis and lab verification, thereby suggesting the usefulness of this procedure to accelerate drug repurposing for HCC treatment.
Project description:Connectivity map (cMap) is a recent developed dataset and algorithm for uncovering and understanding the treatment effect of small molecules on different cancer cell lines. It is widely used but there are still remaining challenges for accurate predictions.Here, we propose BRCA-MoNet, a network of drug mode of action (MoA) specific to breast cancer, which is constructed based on the cMap dataset. A drug signature selection algorithm fitting the characteristic of cMap data, a quality control scheme as well as a novel query algorithm based on BRCA-MoNet are developed for more effective prediction of drug effects.BRCA-MoNet was applied to three independent data sets obtained from the GEO database: Estrodial treated MCF7 cell line, BMS-754807 treated MCF7 cell line, and a breast cancer patient microarray dataset. In the first case, BRCA-MoNet could identify drug MoAs likely to share same and reverse treatment effect. In the second case, the result demonstrated the potential of BRCA-MoNet to reposition drugs and predict treatment effects for drugs not in cMap data. In the third case, a possible procedure of personalized drug selection is showcased.The results clearly demonstrated that the proposed BRCA-MoNet approach can provide increased prediction power to cMap and thus will be useful for identification of new therapeutic candidates.
Project description:Dynamic interactions between intracellular networks regulate cellular homeostasis and responses to perturbations. Targeted therapy is aimed at perturbing oncogene addiction pathways in cancer, however, development of acquired resistance to these drugs is a significant clinical problem. A network-based computational analysis of global gene expression data from matched sensitive and acquired drug-resistant cells to lapatinib, an EGFR/ErbB2 inhibitor, revealed an increased expression of the glucose deprivation response network, including glucagon signaling, glucose uptake, gluconeogenesis and unfolded protein response in the resistant cells. Importantly, the glucose deprivation response markers correlated significantly with high clinical relapse rates in ErbB2-positive breast cancer patients. Further, forcing drug-sensitive cells into glucose deprivation rendered them more resistant to lapatinib. Using a chemical genomics bioinformatics mining of the CMAP database, we identified drugs that specifically target the glucose deprivation response networks to overcome the resistant phenotype and reduced survival of resistant cells. This study implicates the chronic activation of cellular compensatory networks in response to targeted therapy and suggests novel combinations targeting signaling and metabolic networks in tumors with acquired resistance.
Project description:To discover novel drugs for neuroblastoma treatment, we have previously screened a panel of drugs and identified 30 active agents against neuroblastoma cells. Here we performed microarray gene expression analysis to monitor the impact of these agents on a neuroblastoma cell line and used the connectivity map (cMAP) to explore putative mechanism of action of unknown drugs. We first compared the expression profiles of 10 compounds shared in both our dataset and cMAP database and observed the high connectivity scores for 7 of 10 matched drugs regardless of the differences of cell lines utilized. The screen of cMAP for uncharacterized drugs indicated the signature of Epoxy anthraquinone derivative (EAD) matched the profiles of multiple known DNA targeted agents (topoisomerase I/II inhibitors, DNA intercalators, and DNA alkylation agents) as predicted by its structure. Similar result was obtained by querying against our internal NB-cMAP (http://pob.abcc.ncifcrf.gov/cgi-bin/cMAP), a database containing the profiles of 30 active drugs. These results suggest that Epoxy anthraquinone derivative may inhibit neuroblastoma cells by targeting DNA replication inhibition. Experimental data also demonstrate that Epoxy anthraquinone derivative indeed induces DNA double-strand breaks through DNA alkylation and inhibition of topoisomerase activity. Our study indicates that Epoxy anthraquinone derivative may be a novel DNA topoisomerase inhibitor that can be potentially used for treatment of neuroblastoma or other cancer patients.