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Prognostic Implications of the Complement Protein C1Q and Its Correlation with Immune Infiltrates in Osteosarcoma

Authors Huang H, Tan M, Zheng L, Yan G, Li K, Lu D, Cui X, He S, Lei D, Zhu B, Zhao J

Received 3 December 2020

Accepted for publication 15 February 2021

Published 5 March 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 1737—1751

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OTT.S295063

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Gaetano Romano


Hanji Huang,1,2,* Manli Tan,1,* Li Zheng,1,3 Guohua Yan,1,2,4 Kanglu Li,1,2,4 Dejie Lu,1,2,4 Xiaofei Cui,1,2,4 Si He,1,2 Danqing Lei,5,6 Bo Zhu,1 Jinmin Zhao1– 4,7

1Guangxi Engineering Center in Biomedical Materials for Tissue and Organ Regeneration, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, 530021, People’s Republic of China; 2Guangxi Collaborative Innovation Center for Biomedicine, Life Sciences Institute, Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, 530021, People’s Republic of China; 3International Joint Laboratory of Ministry of Education for Regeneration of Bone and Soft Tissues, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, 530021, People’s Republic of China; 4Department of Orthopaedics Trauma and Hand Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, 530021, People’s Republic of China; 5Pharmaceutical College, Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, 530021, People’s Republic of China; 6The Medical and Scientific Research Center, Life Sciences Institute, Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, 530021, People’s Republic of China; 7Guangxi Key Laboratory of Regenerative Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, 530021, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Danqing Lei
The Medical and Scientific Research Center, Life Sciences Institute, Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, 530021, People’s Republic of China
Tel +86-07715358549
Email [email protected]
Bo Zhu
Guangxi Engineering Center in Biomedical Materials for Tissue and Organ Regeneration, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, 530021, People’s Republic of China
Tel +86-07715540515
Email [email protected]

Background: Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most widespread bone tumour among childhood cancers, and distant metastasis is the dominant factor in poor prognosis for patients with OS. Therefore, it is necessary to identify new prognostic biomarkers for identifying patients with aggressive disease.
Methods: Two OS datasets (GSE21257 and GSE33383) were downloaded from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) and subsequently subjected to weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) and differential gene expression analysis (DGE) to screen candidate genes. A prognostic model was constructed using OS data derived from the Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Treatments (TARGET) program to further screen key genes and perform gene ontology (GO) analysis. The prognostic values of key genes were assessed using the Kaplan–Meier (KM) plotter. The GEO dataset was used for immune infiltration analysis and association analysis of key genes. In addition, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was employed to validate the expression levels of potentially crucial genes in OS cell lines.
Results: In the present study, we found 114 genes with a highly significant correlation in the module and 44 downregulated genes; 25 candidate genes overlapped in the two parts of the genes. Among these, three key genes, C1QA, C1QB, and C1QC, were the most significant hub genes, which had the highest node degrees, were clustered into one group, and implicated in most significant biological processes (regulation of immune effector process). Moreover, these three key genes were negatively associated with the prognosis of OS and positively associated with three immune cells (follicular helper T cells, memory B cells, and CD8 T cells). Additionally, compared to non-metastatic OS cell lines, the expression of three key genes was significantly downregulated in metastatic OS cell lines.
Conclusion: Our results revealed that three key genes (C1QA, C1QB, and C1QC) were implicated in tumour immune infiltration and may be promising biomarkers for predicting metastasis and prognosis of patients with OS.

Keywords: osteosarcoma, immune infiltrates, complement protein, C1Q, metastasis

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