The NF-κB signalling pathway in colorectal cancer: associations between dysregulated gene and miRNA expression.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

The nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) signalling pathway is a regulator of immune response and inflammation that has been implicated in the carcinogenic process. We examined differentially expressed genes in this pathway and miRNAs to determine associations with colorectal cancer (CRC).

METHODS

We used data from 217 CRC cases to evaluate differences in NF-κB signalling pathway gene expression between paired carcinoma and normal mucosa and identify miRNAs that are associated with these genes. Gene expression data from RNA-Seq and miRNA expression data from Agilent Human miRNA Microarray V19.0 were analysed. We evaluated genes most strongly associated and differentially expressed (fold change (FC) of > 1.5 or < 0.67) that were statistically significant after adjustment for multiple comparisons.

RESULTS

Of the 92 genes evaluated, 22 were significantly downregulated and nine genes were significantly upregulated in all tumours. Two additional genes (CD14 and CSNK2A1) were dysregulated in MSS tumours and two genes (CARD11 and VCAM1) were downregulated and six genes were upregulated (LYN, TICAM2, ICAM1, IL1B, CCL4 and PTGS2) in MSI tumours. Sixteen of the 21 dysregulated genes were associated with 40 miRNAs. There were 76 miRNA:mRNA associations of which 38 had seed-region matches. Genes were associated with multiple miRNAs, with TNFSRF11A (RANK) being associated with 15 miRNAs. Likewise several miRNAs were associated with multiple genes (miR-150-5p with eight genes, miR-195-5p with four genes, miR-203a with five genes, miR-20b-5p with four genes, miR-650 with six genes and miR-92a-3p with five genes).

CONCLUSIONS

Focusing on the genes and their associated miRNAs within the entire signalling pathway provides a comprehensive understanding of this complex pathway as it relates to CRC and offers insight into potential therapeutic agents.

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