INHBB Is a Novel Prognostic Biomarker Associated with Cancer-Promoting Pathways in Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer

Biomed Res Int. 2020 Oct 6;2020:6909672. doi: 10.1155/2020/6909672. eCollection 2020.


BACKGROUND: Inhibin subunit beta B (INHBB) is a protein-coding gene that participated in the synthesis of the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) family members. The study is aimed at exploring the clinical significance of INHBB in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) by bioinformatics analysis.

METHODS: Real-time PCR and analyses of Oncomine, Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO), and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) databases were utilized to evaluate the INHBB gene transcription level of colorectal cancer (CRC) tissue. We evaluated the INHBB methylation level and the relationship between expression and methylation levels of CpG islands in CRC tissue. The corresponding clinical data were obtained to further explore the association of INHBB with clinical and survival features. In addition, Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) was performed to explore the gene ontology and signaling pathways of INHBB involved.

RESULTS: INHBB expression was elevated in CRC tissue. Although the promoter of INHBB was hypermethylated in CRC, methylation did not ultimately correlate with the expression of INHBB. Overexpression of INHBB was significantly and positively associated with invasion depth, distant metastasis, and TNM stage. Cox regression analyses and Kaplan-Meier survival analysis indicated that high expression of INHBB was correlated with worse overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS). GSEA showed that INHBB was closely correlated with 5 cancer-promoting signaling pathways including the Hedgehog signaling pathway, ECM receptor interaction, TGF-β signaling pathway, focal adhesion, and pathway in cancer. INHBB expression significantly promoted macrophage infiltration and inhibited memory T cell, mast cell, and dendritic cell infiltration. INHBB expression was positively correlated with stromal and immune scores of CRC samples.

CONCLUSION: INHBB might be a potential prognostic biomarker and a novel therapeutic target for CRC.