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PLoS One. 2017 Oct 31;12(10):e0187356. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187356. eCollection 2017.

High ECT2 expression is an independent prognostic factor for poor overall survival and recurrence-free survival in non-small cell lung adenocarcinoma.

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Research Center for Public Health and Preventive Medicine, West China School of Public Health/No.4 West China Teaching Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.
Cancer Center, West China Medical School, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.
Department of Emergency Medicine, the Affiliated Hospital of Weifang Medical University, Weifang, Shandong, China.


Different subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) have distinct sites of origin, histologies, genetic and epigenetic changes. In this study, we explored the mechanisms of ECT2 dysregulation and compared its prognostic value in lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) and lung squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC). In addition, we also investigated the enrichment of ECT2 co-expressed genes in KEGG pathways in LUAD and LUSC. Bioinformatic analysis was performed based on data from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA)-LUAD and TCGA-LUSC. Results showed that ECT2 expression was significantly upregulated in both LUAD and LUSC compared with normal lung tissues. ECT2 expression was considerably higher in LUSC than in LUAD. The level of ECT2 DNA methylation was significantly lower in LUSC than in LUAD. ECT2 mutation was observed in 5% of LUAD and in 51% of LUSC cases. Amplification was the predominant alteration. LUAD patients with ECT2 amplification had significantly worse disease-free survival (p = 0.022). High ECT2 expression was associated with unfavorable overall survival (OS) (p<0.0001) and recurrence-free survival (RFS) (p = 0.001) in LUAD patients. Nevertheless, these associations were not observed in patients with LUSC. The following univariate and multivariate analysis showed that the high ECT2 expression was an independent prognostic factor for poor OS (HR: 2.039, 95%CI: 1.457-2.852, p<0.001) and RFS (HR: 1.715, 95%CI: 1.210-2.432, p = 0.002) in LUAD patients, but not in LUSC patients. Among 518 genes co-expressed with ECT2 in LUAD and 386 genes co-expressed with ECT2 in LUSC, there were only 98 genes in the overlapping cluster. Some of the genes related KEGG pathways in LUAD were not observed in LUSC. These differences might help to explain the different prognostic value of ECT2 in LUAD and LUSC, which are also worthy of further studies.

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