Xu H, et al. Biomed Res Int 2020.
Colorectal cancer, a malignant neoplasm that occurs in the colorectal mucosa, is one of the most common types of gastrointestinal cancer. Colorectal cancer has been studied extensively, but the molecular mechanisms of this malignancy have not been characterized. This study identified and verified core genes associated with colorectal cancer using integrated bioinformatics analysis. Three gene expression profiles (GSE15781, GSE110223, and GSE110224) were downloaded from the Gene Expression
Omnibus (GEO) databases. A total of 87 common differentially expressed genes (DEGs) among GSE15781, GSE110223, and GSE110224 were identified, including 19 upregulated genes and 68 downregulated genes. Gene ontology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway enrichment analysis was performed for common DEGs using clusterProfiler. These common DEGs were significantly involved in cancer-associated functions and signaling pathways. Then, we constructed protein-protein interaction networks of these common DEGs using Cytoscape software, which resulted in the identification of the following 10 core genes: SST, PYY, CXCL1, CXCL8, CXCL3, ZG16, AQP8, CLCA4, MS4A12, and GUCA2A. Analysis using qRT-PCR has shown that SST, CXCL8, and MS4A12 were significant differentially expressed between colorectal cancer tissues and normal colorectal tissues (P < 0.05). Gene Expression Profiling Interactive Analysis (GEPIA) overall survival (OS) has shown that low expressions of AQP8, ZG16, CXCL3, and CXCL8 may predict poor survival outcome in colorectal cancer. In conclusion, the core genes identified in this study contributed to the understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in colorectal cancer development and may be targets for early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of colorectal cancer.