1. Department of Thoracic Surgery, Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, 410011, Changsha, Hunan Province, China.
2. Heath Management Center, Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, 410011, Changsha, Hunan Province, China.
Background: Ground-glass opacity (GGO)-associated cancers are increasingly prevalent, exhibiting unique clinical and molecular features that suggest the need for a distinct treatment strategy. However, the metabolic characteristics and vulnerabilities of GGO-associated lung cancers remain unexplored.
Methods: We conducted metabolomic and transcriptomic analyses on 40 pairs of GGO-associated lung cancer tissues and adjacent normal tissues. By integrating data from TCGA database and single-cell RNA sequencing, we aimed to identify aberrant metabolic pathways, establish a metabolite-associated gene signature, and pinpoint key metabolic genes. The physiological effect of key genes was detected in vitro and vivo assays.
Results: We identified a 30-gene metabolite-associated signature and discovered aberrant metabolic pathways for GGO-associated lung cancer at both metabolic and transcriptional levels. Patients with this signature displayed specific prognostic and molecular features. Cox regression analysis, based on the Cancer Genome Atlas Program (TCGA) data, further narrowed down the metabolite-related gene signature, resulting in a 5-gene signature. Confirmed by single-cell RNA sequencing (GSE203360), the 5-gene signature was mainly expressed in cancer cells of GGO tissue. Real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) further validated the differential expression of these genes between GGO and adjacent normal tissue obtained from pulmonary surgery. Finally, our integrative analysis unveiled aberrant histidine metabolism at both the multi-omics and single-cell levels. Moreover, we identified MAOB as a key metabolic gene, demonstrating its ability to suppress cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in LUAD cell lines, both in vitro and in vivo.
Conclusions: We identified a specific metabolite-associated gene signature and identified aberrant histidine metabolism in GGO-associated lung cancer from multiple perspectives. Notably, MAOB, a crucial component in histidine metabolism, demonstrated a significant inhibitory effect on the proliferation and metastasis of LUAD, indicating its potential significance in pathogenesis and therapeutic interventions.
Keywords: ground-glass opacity, metabolomics, lung neoplasms, transcriptome, single-cell RNA sequencing