Differential correlation analysis of glioblastoma reveals immune ceRNA interactions predictive of patient survival

  • Yu Chiao Chiu (Contributor)
  • Li Ju Wang (Creator)
  • T. P. Lu (Contributor)
  • Tzu Hung Hsiao (Contributor)
  • Eric Y. Chuang (Creator)
  • Yidong Chen (Contributor)



Abstract Background Recent studies illuminated a novel role of microRNA (miRNA) in the competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) interaction: two genes (ceRNAs) can achieve coexpression by competing for a pool of common targeting miRNAs. Individual biological investigations implied ceRNA interaction performs crucial oncogenic/tumor suppressive functions in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Yet, a systematic analysis has not been conducted to explore the functional landscape and prognostic significance of ceRNA interaction. Results Incorporating the knowledge that ceRNA interaction is highly condition-specific and modulated by the expressional abundance of miRNAs, we devised a ceRNA inference by differential correlation analysis to identify the miRNA-modulated ceRNA pairs. Analyzing sample-paired miRNA and gene expression profiles of GBM, our data showed that this alternative layer of gene interaction is essential in global information flow. Functional annotation analysis revealed its involvement in activated processes in brain, such as synaptic transmission, as well as critical tumor-associated functions. Notably, a systematic survival analysis suggested the strength of ceRNA-ceRNA interactions, rather than expressional abundance of individual ceRNAs, among three immune response genes (CCL22, IL2RB, and IRF4) is predictive of patient survival. The prognostic value was validated in two independent cohorts. Conclusions This work addresses the lack of a comprehensive exploration into the functional and prognostic relevance of ceRNA interaction in GBM. The proposed efficient and reliable method revealed its significance in GBM-related functions and prognosis. The highlighted roles of ceRNA interaction provide a basis for further biological and clinical investigations.
Date made available2017

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