Pan-cancer systematic identification of lncRNAs associated with cancer prognosis

PeerJ. 2020 Mar 24;8:e8797. doi: 10.7717/peerj.8797. eCollection 2020.


Background: The "dark matter" of the genome harbors several non-coding RNA species including Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), which have been implicated in neoplasia but remain understudied. RNA-seq has provided deep insights into the nature of lncRNAs in cancer but current RNA-seq data are rarely accompanied by longitudinal patient survival information. In contrast, a plethora of microarray studies have collected these clinical metadata that can be leveraged to identify novel associations between gene expression and clinical phenotypes.

Methods: In this study, we developed an analysis framework that computationally integrates RNA-seq and microarray data to systematically screen 9,463 lncRNAs for association with mortality risk across 20 cancer types.

Results: In total, we identified a comprehensive list of associations between lncRNAs and patient survival and demonstrate that these prognostic lncRNAs are under selective pressure and may be functional. Our results provide valuable insights that facilitate further exploration of lncRNAs and their potential as cancer biomarkers and drug targets.

Keywords: LncRNA; Microarray; Prognosis; RNA-seq; TCGA.