Background and purpose: Lower grade gliomas (LGGs), lesions of WHO grades II and III, comprise 10-15% of primary brain tumors. In this first-of-a-kind study, we aim to carry out a radioproteomic characterization of LGGs using proteomics data from the TCGA and imaging data from the TCIA cohorts, to obtain an association between tumor MRI characteristics and protein measurements. The availability of linked imaging and molecular data permits the assessment of relationships between tumor genomic/proteomic measurements with phenotypic features.
Materials and methods: Multiple-response regression of the image-derived, radiologist scored features with reverse-phase protein array (RPPA) expression levels generated correlation coefficients for each combination of image-feature and protein or phospho-protein in the RPPA dataset. Significantly-associated proteins for VASARI features were analyzed with Ingenuity Pathway Analysis software. Hierarchical clustering of the results of the pathway analysis was used to determine which feature groups were most strongly correlated with pathway activity and cellular functions.
Results: The multiple-response regression approach identified multiple proteins associated with each VASARI imaging feature. VASARI features were found to be correlated with expression of IL8, PTEN, PI3K/Akt, Neuregulin, ERK/MAPK, p70S6K and EGF signaling pathways.
Conclusion: Radioproteomics analysis might enable an insight into the phenotypic consequences of molecular aberrations in LGGs.
Keywords: imaging-proteomics analysis; lower grade glioma; multiple-response regression; radiomics; signaling pathway activity.