Exploring the molecular mechanism associated with breast cancer bone metastasis using bioinformatic analysis and microarray genetic interaction network

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Abstract

Background:

Bone metastases are common in advanced breast cancer patients and frequently leading to skeletal-related morbidity and deterioration in the quality of life. Although chemotherapy and hormone therapy are able to control the symptoms caused by bone destruction, the underlying molecular mechanisms for the affinity of breast cancer cells towards skeletal bones are still not completely understood.

Methods:

In this study, bioinformatic analysis was performed on patients’ microarray gene expression data to explore the molecular mechanism associated with breast cancer bone metastasis. Microarray gene expression profile regarding patients with breast cancer and disseminated tumor cells was downloaded from Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database (NCBI, NIH). Raw data were normalized and differently expressed genes were identified by using Significance Analysis of Microarrays (SAM) methods. Protein interaction networks were expanded using String. Moreover, molecular functions, biological processes and signaling pathway enrichment analysis were performed using Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG).

Results:

We identified 66 differentially expressed genes. After submitting the set of genes to String, genetic interaction network was expanded, which consisted of 110 nodes and 869 edges. Pathway enrichment analysis suggested that adhesion kinase, ECM-receptor interaction, calcium signaling, Wnt pathways, and PI3K/AKT signaling pathway are highly associated with breast cancer bone metastasis.

Conclusion:

In this study, we established a microarray genetic interaction network associated with breast cancer bone metastasis. This information provides some potential molecular therapeutic targets for breast cancer initiation and progression.

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