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Nucleic Acids Res. 2018 Jan 4;46(D1):D1031-D1038. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkx850.

TissGDB: tissue-specific gene database in cancer.

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Center for Precision Health, School of Biomedical Informatics, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
College of Pharmacy and Research Institute of Life and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Sunchon National University, Suncheon 57922, Korea.
Human Genetics Center, School of Public Health, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Tissue-specific gene expression is critical in understanding biological processes, physiological conditions, and disease. The identification and appropriate use of tissue-specific genes (TissGenes) will provide important insights into disease mechanisms and organ-specific therapeutic targets. To better understand the tissue-specific features for each cancer type and to advance the discovery of clinically relevant genes or mutations, we built TissGDB (Tissue specific Gene DataBase in cancer) available at We collected and curated 2461 tissue specific genes (TissGenes) across 22 tissue types that matched the 28 cancer types of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) from three representative tissue-specific gene expression resources: The Human Protein Atlas (HPA), Tissue-specific Gene Expression and Regulation (TiGER), and Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx). For these 2461 TissGenes, we performed gene expression, somatic mutation, and prognostic marker-based analyses across 28 cancer types using TCGA data. Our analyses identified hundreds of TissGenes, including genes that universally kept or lost tissue-specific gene expression, with other features: cancer type-specific isoform expression, fusion with oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes, and markers for protective or risk prognosis. TissGDB provides seven categories of annotations: TissGeneSummary, TissGeneExp, TissGene-miRNA, TissGeneMut, TissGeneNet, TissGeneProg, TissGeneClin.

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