Background: We analyzed and integrated transcriptome data from two large studies of lung adenocarcinomas on distinct populations. Our goal was to investigate the variable gene expression alterations between paired tumor-normal tissues and prospectively identify those alterations that can reliably predict lung disease related outcomes across populations.
Methods: We developed a mixed model that combined the paired tumor-normal RNA-seq from two populations. Alterations in gene expression common to both populations were detected and validated in two independent DNA microarray datasets. A 10-gene prognosis signature was developed through a l1 penalized regression approach and its prognostic value was evaluated in a third independent microarray cohort.
Results: Deregulation of apoptosis pathways and increased expression of cell cycle pathways were identified in tumors of both Caucasian and Asian lung adenocarcinoma patients. We demonstrate that a 10-gene biomarker panel can predict prognosis of lung adenocarcinoma in both Caucasians and Asians. Compared to low risk groups, high risk groups showed significantly shorter overall survival time (Caucasian patients data: HR = 3.63, p-value = 0.007; Asian patients data: HR = 3.25, p-value = 0.001).
Conclusions: This study uses a statistical framework to detect DEGs between paired tumor and normal tissues that considers variances among patients and ethnicities, which will aid in understanding the common genes and signalling pathways with the largest effect sizes in ethnically diverse cohorts. We propose multifunctional markers for distinguishing tumor from normal tissue and prognosis for both populations studied.