BMC Med Genet 2019 03 29;20(1):54. Epub 2019 Mar 29.
School of Medicine, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian, China.
Background: Primary cutaneous malignant melanoma is a cancer of the pigment cells of the skin, some of which are accompanied by BRAF mutation. Melanoma incidence and mortality rates have been rising around the world. As the current knowledge about pathogenesis, clinical and genetic features of cutaneous melanoma is not very clear, we aim to use bioinformatics to identify the potential key genes involved in the expression and mutation status of BRAF.
Methods: Firstly, we used UCSC public hub datasets of melanoma (Lin et al., Cancer Res 68(3):664, 2008) to perform weighted genes co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) and differentially expressed genes analysis (DEGs), respectively. Secondly, overlapping genes between significant gene modules and DEGs were screened and validated at transcriptional levels and overall survival in TCGA and GTEx datasets. Lastly, the functional enrichment analysis was accomplished to find biological functions on the web-server database.
Results: We performed weighted correlation network and differential expression analyses, using gene expression data in melanoma samples. We identified 20 genes whose expression was correlated with the mutation status of BRAF. For further validation, three of these genes (CYR61, DUSP1, and RNASE4) were found to have similar expression patterns in skin tumors from TCGA compared with normal skin samples from GTEx. We also found that weak expression of these three genes was associated with worse overall survival in the TCGA data. These three genes were involved in the nucleic acid metabolic process.
Conclusion: In this study, CYR61, DUSP1, and RNASE4 were identified as potential genes of interest for future molecular studies in melanoma, which would improve our understanding of its causes and underlying molecular events. These candidate genes may provide a promising avenue of future research for therapeutic targets in melanoma.