More than 95% of nasopharyngeal carcinomas belong to poorly differentiated and undifferentiated cancer types. They have high malignancy and fast growth and are prone to lymph nodes or blood metastasis. There are currently no clinically specific molecular markers for nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Therefore, it is necessary to elucidate the detailed molecular mechanisms that are independently associated with tumor prognosis and invasiveness. With the development of high-throughput sequencing technology and microarrays technology, the profiling of DEGs closely link to NPC has become more common worldwide, providing a novel and effective way to predict the promising potential diagnostic and therapeutic targets in preventing and treating NPC. In this study, the 3 gene expression data sets were extracted from GEO, and a total of 306 DEGs between NPC and normal tissues were screened. GO enrichment and KEGG analyses showed that these DEGs were robustly related to various biologic functions most of which are closely to the progression and genesis of cancer. Moreover, coexpression genes was performed via cBioPortal platform and a PPI network with the DEGs was constructed, and 13 hub genes, including DNAAF1, PARPBP, TTC18, GSTA3, RCN1, MUC5AC, POU2AF1, FAM83B, SLC22A16, SPEF2, ERICH3, CCDC81, and IL33, were identified as the key genes in NPC.
The GSTs are phase II detoxification enzymes that may have evolved in response to changes of environmental substrates. Thus GSTA3 may be plays an important role in the occurrence and development of NPC. RCN1 is a calcium-binding protein located in the lumen of the ER. This protein localizes to the plasma membrane in human prostate cancer cell lines. It is speculated that the RCN1 has played the function in Ca2+-dependent cell adhesion, as dysregulation of RCN1 protein resulting in multifarious diseases, such as cancer. Reports indicate that RCN1 was found in multiple tumorous types, including kidney cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer, colorectal cancer, and so on.[29–32] These findings remind us that overexpression of RCN1 might contribute to the tumorigenesis and tumor progression. MUC5AC expressed in human normal airways and is significantly upregulated in the sinus mucosa of patients with chronic rhinosinusitis.[33,34] Ye et al demonstrates that autophagy is essential for activation of the JNK-AP-1 signaling pathway, and this subsequently promotes MUC5AC production. POU2AF1 a known B-cell transcriptional coactivator and is regulated by CD40-L, a continuous stimulation may resulting in an overexpression of this gene on B cells. FAM83B has also been reported significantly upregulated in breast cancer, gastric cancer, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, and lung squamous cell carcinoma. SLC22A16 belongs to transporter protein family which transports carnitine and successful treatment has been related to the level of activity of this transporter in tumor cells. SPEF2 is essential for motile cilia, and lack of SPEF2 function causes primary ciliary dyskinesia. ERICH3 are related to plasma serotonin concentrations and dysfunction may lead to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. CCDC81 may as a potential cargo-binding protein in conjunction with Dynein-VII. IL33 is involved in the maturation of Th2 cells and the activation of basophils, mast cells, eosinophils, and natural killer cells. TTC18 also known as CFAP70, a novel cilia-related gene and may play important in NPC.
The present study was attempted to identify and functionally analyze the DEGs that may be involved in the carcinogenesis or progression of NPC by using comprehensive bioinformatics analyses and unveiled a series of hub genes and pathways. A total of 306 DEGs and 13 hub genes were identified and may be regarded as diagnostic biomarkers for NPC. However, more experimental studies are needed to carried out elucidate the biologic function of these genes results for NPC.
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