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Identification of most representative hub-genes for diagnosis, prognosis, and therapies of hepatocellular carcinoma

Chin Clin Oncol. 2024 Jun;13(3):32. doi: 10.21037/cco-23-151.


BACKGROUND: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths globally. To reduce HCC-related mortality, early diagnosis and therapeutic improvement are essential. Hub differentially expressed genes (HubGs) may serve as potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, also offering therapeutic targets for precise therapies. Therefore, we aimed to identify top-ranked hub genes for the diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy of HCC.

METHODS: Through a systematic literature review, 202 HCC-related HubGs were derived from 59 studies, yet consistent detection across these was lacking. Then, we identified top-ranked HubGs (tHubGs) by integrated bioinformatics analysis, highlighting their functions, pathways, and regulators that might be more representative of the diagnosis, prognosis, and therapies of HCC.

RESULTS: In this study, eight HubGs (CDK1, AURKA, CDC20, CCNB2, TOP2A, PLK1, BUB1B, and BIRC5) were identified as the tHubGs through the protein-protein interaction (PPI) network and survival analysis. Their differential expression in different stages of HCC, validated using The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Program database, suggests their potential as early HCC markers. The enrichment analyses revealed some important roles in HCC-related biological processes (BPs), molecular functions (MFs), cellular components (CCs), and signaling pathways. Moreover, the gene regulatory network analysis highlighted key transcription factors (TFs) and microRNAs (miRNAs) that regulate these tHubGs at transcriptional and post-transcriptional. Finally, we selected three drugs (CD437, avrainvillamide, and LRRK2-IN-1) as candidate drugs for HCC treatment as they showed strong binding with all of our proposed and published protein receptors.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study may provide valuable resources for early diagnosis, prognosis, and therapies for HCC.

PMID:38984486 | DOI:10.21037/cco-23-151

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