J Cancer 2020; 11(4):788-794. doi:10.7150/jca.37323

Research Paper

FOXM1 functions collaboratively with PLAU to promote gastric cancer progression

Chao Ai1*, Jixin Zhang2*, Shenyi Lian3*, Jie Ma4, Balázs Győrffy5, Zhenyuan Qian6✉, Yong Han7✉, Qin Feng3✉

1. Department of Pharmacy, Beijing Tsinghua Changgung Hospital, School of Clinical Medicine, Tsinghua University, Beijing 102218, P. R. China.
2. Department of Pathology, Peking University First Hospital, Beijing, China
3. Key laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Translational Research (Ministry of Education), Department of Pathology, Peking University Cancer Hospital &Institute, Beijing, China
4. Department of Pathology, Zhejiang Provincial People's Hospital, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
5. Momentum Cancer Biomarker Research Group, Institute of Enzymology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, H-1117, Hungary; Second Department of Pediatrics, Semmelweis University, Budapest, H-1094, Hungary
6. Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Zhejiang Provincial People's Hospital, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
7. Clinical Research Institute, Zhejiang Provincial People's Hospital, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
*Authors contributed equally to this work

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Citation:
Ai C, Zhang J, Lian S, Ma J, Győrffy B, Qian Z, Han Y, Feng Q. FOXM1 functions collaboratively with PLAU to promote gastric cancer progression. J Cancer 2020; 11(4):788-794. doi:10.7150/jca.37323. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v11p0788.htm

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Abstract

Background: Gastric cancer (GC) is one of the main mortality cause worldwide. Previously, we found Forkhead box protein (FOXM1) or Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (PLAU) are independent prognostic markers of GC. This study aims to explore the combining prognostic efficacy and the potential insights underlying additive effect of FOXM1 to PLAU in GC progression through in-silico analyses.

Method: The expression of FOXM1 and PLAU were profiled in 33 cancer types using public data. A merged GC expression dataset containing 598 samples was used for evaluating prognostic significance of FOXM1/PLAU. Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) was performed to elucidate the mechanisms underlying FOXM1/PLAU promoted GC progression. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) was used for analyzing the association between FOXM1/PLAU and tumor immune infiltration. Genomic and proteomic differences between FOXM1+PLAU+ and FOXM1-PLAU- groups were also computed using TCGA GC data. Drugs targeting FOXM1/PLAU associated gene expression pattern was analyzed using LINCs database.

Results: FOXM1 and PLAU are overexpressed in 17/33 cancer types including GC. Kaplan-Meier analyses indicate that the FOXM1+PLAU+ subgroup have the worst prognosis, while FOXM1-PLAU- subgroup have the best survival. Bioinformatics analysis indicated that FOXM1+PLAU+ associated genes are enriched in TGF-beta, DNA repair and drug resistance signaling pathways; FOXM1 and PLAU expression are negatively correlated with tumor immune infiltration. Genomic and proteomic differences between FOXM1+PLAU+ and FOXM1-PLAU- groups were presented. Data mining from LINCs suggested several chemicals or drugs that could target the gene expression pattern of FOXM1+PLAU+ patients.

Conclusion: FOXM1+PLAU+ can serve as effective prognostic biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets for GC. Due to the additive effect of these two genes, screening for drugs or chemicals that targeting the expression patterns PLAU+FOXM1+ subgroup may exert important clinical impact on GC management.

Keywords: FOXM1, PLAU, gastric cancer, immune infiltration, chemo-resistance