Identification of potential biomarkers in lung cancer as possible diagnostic agents using bioinformatics and molecular approaches
Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, with the majority of cases attributed to non-small cell lung carcinomas. At the time of diagnosis, a large percentage of patients present with advanced stage of disease, ultimately resulting in a poor prognosis. The identification circulatory markers, overexpressed by the tumour tissue, could facilitate the discovery of an early, specific, non-invasive diagnostic tool as well as improving prognosis and treatment protocols. The aim was to analyse gene expression data from both microarray and RNA sequencing platforms, using bioinformatics and statistical analysis tools. Enrichment analysis sought to identify genes, which were differentially expressed (p < 0.05, FC > 2) and had the potential to be secreted into the extracellular circulation, by using Gene Ontology terms of the Cellular Component. Results identified 1 657 statically significant genes between normal and early lung cancer tissue, with only 1 gene differentially expressed (DE) between the early and late stage disease. Following statistical analysis, 171 DE genes selected as potential early stage biomarkers. The overall sensitivity of RNAseq, in comparison to arrays enabled the identification of 57 potential serum markers. These genes of interest were all downregulated in the tumour tissue, and while they did not facilitate the discovery of an ideal diagnostic marker based on the set criteria in this study, their roles in disease initiation and progression require further analysis.