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Identification of Critical Pathways and Potential Key Genes in Poorly Differentiated Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma

Authors Lu Y, Li D, Liu G, Xiao E, Mu S, Pan Y, Qin F, Zhai Y, Duan S, Li D, Yan G

Received 28 August 2020

Accepted for publication 17 December 2020

Published 27 January 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 711—723


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Federico Perche

Yuanxiang Lu,1,2,* Dongxiao Li,3,* Ge Liu,1,4 Erwei Xiao,1 Senmao Mu,1 Yujin Pan,1 Fangyuan Qin,5 Yaping Zhai,5 Shaofeng Duan,6 Deyu Li,1,2 Guoyi Yan1,4

1Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Henan Provincial People’s Hospital, People’s Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, Henan, People’s Republic of China; 2School of Clinical Medicine, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Gastroenterology, Tongji Hospital of Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, People’s Republic of China; 4School of Clinical Medicine, Henan University, Kaifeng, People’s Republic of China; 5Henan Eye Hospital, Henan Provincial People’s Hospital and People’s Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, Henan, People’s Republic of China; 6School of Pharmacy, Henan University, Kaifeng, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Deyu Li; Guoyi Yan
Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Henan Provincial People’s Hospital, Zhengzhou University People’s Hospital, Zhengzhou 450003, People’s Republic of China

Introduction: The poorly differentiated pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an extremely lethal neoplasm without effective biomarkers for early detection and prognosis prediction, which is characteristically unresponsive to chemotherapeutic regimens. This study aims at searching for key genes which could be applied as novel prognostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets in PDAC.
Methods: Clinical samples were collected and a comprehensive differential analysis of seven PDAC samples by integrating RNA-seq data of tumor tissues and matched normal tissues from both our cohort and gene expression profiling interactive analysis (GEPIA) were performed to discover potential prognostic genes in PDAC. Pathway enrichment analysis was carried out to determine the biological function of PDAC differentially expressed genes (DEGs), and protein-protein interaction (PPI) network was constructed for functional modules analysis. Real-time PCR was performed to validate expression of hub genes.
Results: A total of 126 PDAC-specific expressed genes identified from seven PDAC samples were predominantly enriched in cell adhesion, integral component of membrane, signal transduction and chemical carcinogenesis, IL-17 signaling pathway, indicating that obtained genes might play a unique role in PDAC tumorigenesis. Furthermore, survival analysis revealed that five genes (CEACAM5, KRT6A, KRT6B, KRT7, KRT17) which exhibited high expression levels in tumor tissues were obviously correlated with the prognosis of PDAC patients and KRT7 was positively correlated with KRT6A, KRT6B, KRT17 expression. In addition, real-time PCR demonstrated that the expression level of the hub genes was consistent with RNA-seq analysis.
Discussion: The current study suggested that CEACAM5, KRT6A, KRT6B, KRT7, and KRT17 may represent novel prognostic biomarkers as well as novel therapeutic targets for poorly differentiated PDAC.

Keywords: pancreatic adenocarcinoma, biomarker, differentially expressed genes, RNA-seq, prognosis

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