Front Oncol. 2020 Aug 13;10:1613. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2020.01613. eCollection 2020.
While hundreds of consistently altered autophagy-related genes (ARGs) have been identified in cancers, their prognostic value in bladder urothelial carcinoma (BUC) remains unclear. In the present study, we collected 232 ARGs from the Human Autophagy Database (HADb), and identified 37 differentially expressed ARGs in BUC based on The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis based on the Gene Expression Profiling Interactive Analysis (GEPIA) database revealed that among
the 37 differentially expressed ARGs, prolyl 4-hydroxylase, beta polypeptide (P4HB), and regulator of G protein signaling 19 (RGS19) were significantly negatively correlated with overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS). Overexpression of P4HB and RGS19 in BUC was further validated using independent data sets, including those from the Oncomine and Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) databases. cBioPortal and UALCAN analyses indicated that altered P4HB and RGS19 mRNA expression was significantly associated with mutations and clinical characteristics (nodal metastasis and cancer stage). Moreover, co-expression network analysis and gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) predicted that the potential functions of P4HB and RGS19 are involved in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response, cytokine-mediated signaling pathway and inflammatory response. More importantly, multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression analysis demonstrated that P4HB, but not RGS19, is an independent and unfavorable BUC biomarker based on clinical characteristics (age, gender, cancer stage, and pathological TNM stage). Finally, we validated that the mRNA and protein expression levels of P4HB were upregulated in four bladder cancer cell lines (T24, J82, EJ, and SW780) and found that knockdown of P4HB dramatically inhibited the invasion and proliferation of bladder cancer cells. In summary, our study screened ARGs and identified P4HB as a biomarker that can predict the progression and prognosis of BUC and may provide a better understanding of the autophagy regulatory mechanisms involved in BUC.