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Dev Dyn. 2018 Mar;247(3):555-564. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.24485. Epub 2017 May 4.

Pan-cancer survey of epithelial-mesenchymal transition markers across the Cancer Genome Atlas.

Author information

1
Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.
2
Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.
3
Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center Division of Biostatistics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.
4
Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.
5
Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

While epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) can be readily induced experimentally in cancer cells, the EMT process as manifested in human tumors needs to be better understood. Pan-cancer genomic datasets from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), representing over 10,000 patients and 32 distinct cancer types, provide a rich resource for examining correlative patterns involving EMT mediators in the setting of human cancers.

RESULTS:

Here, we surveyed a 16-gene signature of canonical EMT markers in TCGA pan-cancer cohort. The histology or cell-of-origin of a tumor sample may align more with mesenchymal or epithelial phenotype, and noncancer as well as cancer cells can contribute to the overall molecular patterns observed within a tumor sample; correlation models involving EMT markers can factor in both of the above variables. EMT-associated genes appear coordinately expressed across all cancers and within each cancer type surveyed. Gene signatures of immune cells correlate highly with EMT marker expression in tumors. In pan-cancer analysis, several EMT-related genes can be significantly associated with worse patient outcome.

CONCLUSIONS:

Gene correlates of EMT phenotype in human tumors could include novel mediators of EMT that might be confirmed experimentally, by which TCGA datasets may serve as a platform for discovery in ongoing studies. Developmental Dynamics 247:555-564, 2018. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

KEYWORDS:

EMT; Pan-cancer; TCGA

PMID:
28073171
PMCID:
PMC5503821
DOI:
10.1002/dvdy.24485
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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