We hypothesized that the correlation of the whole transcriptome with quantifiable phenotypes may unveil genes contributing to the regulation of the corresponding response. We tested this hypothesis in cultured fibroblasts exposed to diverse pharmacological and biological agents, to identify genes influencing chemoattraction of breast cancer cells. Our analyses revealed several genes that correlated, either positively or negatively with cell migration, suggesting that they may operate as activators or inhibitors of this process. Survey of the scientific literature showed that genes exhibiting positive or negative association with cell migration had frequently been linked to cancer and metastasis before, while those with minimal association were not. The current methodology may formulate the basis for the development of novel strategies linking genes to quantifiable phenotypes.
Keywords: cancer; expression correlation; metastasis; transcriptional reprogramming.
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