J Cancer 2022; 13(2):653-668. doi:10.7150/jca.61415 This issue
Department of Colorectal Surgery, Department of General Surgery, Shanghai East Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China.
#These authors contributed equally to this work.
Growing evidence has revealed that the E2F family of transcription factor 2 (E2F2) participates in the tumorigenesis and progression of various tumors, but its role in colorectal cancer (CRC) remains largely unknown. Herein, the aim of our study was to investigate the exact role of E2F2 in CRC. The expression levels of E2F2 in CRC were appraised based on the Tumor Immune Estimate Resource (TIMER), Oncomine, The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database. The results were further confirmed using CRC tumor tissues and normal controls by experimental assays including immunohistochemistry, qRT-PCR and western blot. The survival analysis of E2F2 in CRC was analyzed using PrognoScan database and TCGA data sets. In addition, the functional roles of E2F2 were examined by Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) and immune infiltration analysis. Our results illustrated that E2F2 was significantly downregulated in CRC samples. The low E2F2 expression in CRC was prominently correlated with N, M stage and pathological stage. Decreased E2F2 expression had an unfavorable overall survivial (OS), disease free survival (DFS), disease specific survival (DSS) and progress free interval (PFI). Multivariate cox regression showed E2F2 could be an independent prognostic factors of OS in CRC. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis showed that E2F2 may serve as a potential diagnostic biomarker for CRC patients. GSEA disclosed that E2F2 was probably involved in several pathways, including ATR pathway, ATM signalling pathway, mismatch repair, base excision repair, homologous recomibination, Fanconi Anemia pathway, multicancer invasiveness signature, and cancer stem cells. Moreover, E2F2 was significantly correlated with the infiltration level of Th2, aDC, Th17, NK CD56dim, T helper and pDC cells. The current study demonstrates that decreased E2F2 expression is closely associated with poor prognosis and immune cell infiltration in CRC, which can be a promising independent prognostic biomarker and potential treatment target for CRC.
Keywords: E2F2, colorectal cancer, prognosis, immune infiltration, bioinformatics analysis, immunohistochemistry