J Proteome Res. 2023 Nov 1. doi: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.3c00526. Online ahead of print.
Understanding the pathogenesis and finding diagnostic markers for colorectal cancer (CRC) are the key to its diagnosis and treatment. Integrated transcriptomics and proteomics analysis can be used to characterize alterations of molecular phenotypes and reveal the hidden pathogenesis of CRC. This study employed a novel strategy integrating transcriptomics and proteomics to identify pathological molecular pathways and diagnostic biomarkers of CRC. First, differentially expressed proteins and coexpressed genes generated from weighted gene coexpression network analysis (WGCNA) were intersected to obtain key genes of the CRC phenotype. In total, 63 key genes were identified, and pathway enrichment analysis showed that the process of coagulation and peptidase regulator activity could both play important roles in the development of CRC. Second, protein-protein interaction analysis was then conducted on these key genes to find the central genes involved in the metabolic pathways underpinning CRC. Finally, Itih3 and Lrg1 were further screened out as diagnostic biomarkers of CRC by applying statistical analysis on central genes combining transcriptomics and proteomics data. The deep involvement of central genes in tumorigenesis demonstrates the accuracy and reliability of this novel transcriptomics-proteomics integration strategy in biomarker discovery. The identified candidate biomarkers and enriched metabolic pathways provide insights for CRC diagnosis and treatment.