The risk of pancreatic adenocarcinoma following SARS-CoV family infection

Sci Rep. 2021 Jun 21;11(1):12948. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-92068-4.


COVID 19 disease has become a global catastrophe over the past year that has claimed the lives of over two million people around the world. Despite the introduction of vaccines against the disease, there is still a long way to completely eradicate it. There are concerns about the complications following infection with SARS-CoV-2. This research aimed to evaluate the possible correlation between infection with SARS-CoV viruses and cancer in an in-silico study model. To do this, the relevent dataset was selected from GEO database. Identification of differentially expressed genes among defined groups including SARS-CoV, SARS-dORF6, SARS-BatSRBD, and H1N1 were screened where the |Log FC| ≥ 1and p < 0.05 were considered statistically significant. Later, the pathway enrichment analysis and gene ontology (GO) were used by Enrichr and Shiny GO databases. Evaluation with STRING online was applied to predict the functional interactions of proteins, followed by Cytoscape analysis to identify the master genes. Finally, analysis with GEPIA2 server was carried out to reveal the possible correlation between candidate genes and cancer development. The results showed that the main molecular function of up- and down-regulated genes was "double-stranded RNA binding" and actin-binding, respectively. STRING and Cytoscape analysis presented four genes, PTEN, CREB1, CASP3, and SMAD3 as the key genes involved in cancer development. According to TCGA database results, these four genes were up-regulated notably in pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Our findings suggest that pancreatic adenocarcinoma is the most probably malignancy happening after infection with SARS-CoV family.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology*
  • COVID-19 / complications*
  • COVID-19 / genetics
  • COVID-19 / metabolism
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • Carcinogenesis / genetics*
  • Caspase 3 / genetics
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Ontology
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype*
  • Influenza, Human / complications*
  • Influenza, Human / genetics
  • Influenza, Human / metabolism
  • Influenza, Human / virology
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / genetics
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Protein Interaction Maps
  • Risk
  • SARS-CoV-2*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / complications*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / genetics
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / metabolism
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / virology
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Smad3 Protein / genetics
  • Up-Regulation / genetics


  • CREB1 protein, human
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein
  • SMAD3 protein, human
  • Smad3 Protein
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • PTEN protein, human
  • CASP3 protein, human
  • Caspase 3