Front Oncol. 2020 Jun 30;10:931. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2020.00931. eCollection 2020.
Bladder cancer (BC) is one of the most common malignancies in terms of incidence and recurrence worldwide. The aim of this study was to identify novel prognostic biomarkers related to BC progression utilizing weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) and further bioinformatic analysis. First, we constructed a co-expression network by using WGCNA among 274 TCGA-BLCA patients and preliminarily screened out four genes (CORO1C, TMPRSS4, PIK3C2B, and ZNF692) associated with advanced
clinical traits. In support, GSE19915 and specimens from 124 patients were used to validate the genes selected by WGCNA; then, CORO1C and TMPRSS4 were confirmed as hub genes with strong prognostic values in BC. Moreover, the result of gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) and gene set variation analysis (GSVA) indicated that CORO1C and TMPRSS4 might be involved in the process of epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) reversely. In addition, high expression of CORO1C was found to be significantly correlated with tumor-infiltrating neutrophils (TINs), a negative regulatory component that facilitates tumor distant progression and induces poor clinical outcome. In conclusion, our study first identified CORO1C and TMPRSS4 as vital regulators in the process of tumor progression through influencing EMT and could be developed to effective prognostic and therapeutic targets in future BC treatment.