Integrative analysis of transcriptomics and clinical data uncovers the tumor-suppressive activity of MITF in prostate cancer

Cell Death Dis. 2018 Oct 11;9(10):1041. doi: 10.1038/s41419-018-1096-6.


The dysregulation of gene expression is an enabling hallmark of cancer. Computational analysis of transcriptomics data from human cancer specimens, complemented with exhaustive clinical annotation, provides an opportunity to identify core regulators of the tumorigenic process. Here we exploit well-annotated clinical datasets of prostate cancer for the discovery of transcriptional regulators relevant to prostate cancer. Following this rationale, we identify Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) as a prostate tumor suppressor among a subset of transcription factors. Importantly, we further interrogate transcriptomics and clinical data to refine MITF perturbation-based empirical assays and unveil Crystallin Alpha B (CRYAB) as an unprecedented direct target of the transcription factor that is, at least in part, responsible for its tumor-suppressive activity in prostate cancer. This evidence was supported by the enhanced prognostic potential of a signature based on the concomitant alteration of MITF and CRYAB in prostate cancer patients. In sum, our study provides proof-of-concept evidence of the potential of the bioinformatics screen of publicly available cancer patient databases as discovery platforms, and demonstrates that the MITF-CRYAB axis controls prostate cancer biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Microphthalmia-Associated Transcription Factor / genetics*
  • PC-3 Cells
  • Prognosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcriptome / genetics*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics*
  • alpha-Crystallin B Chain / genetics


  • MITF protein, human
  • Microphthalmia-Associated Transcription Factor
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • alpha-Crystallin B Chain