Stratification of patients with clear cell renal cell carcinoma to facilitate drug repositioning

iScience. 2021 Jun 12;24(7):102722. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.102722. eCollection 2021 Jul 23.


Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) is the most common histological type of kidney cancer and has high heterogeneity. Stratification of ccRCC is important since distinct subtypes differ in prognosis and treatment. Here, we applied a systems biology approach to stratify ccRCC into three molecular subtypes with different mRNA expression patterns and prognosis of patients. Further, we developed a set of biomarkers that could robustly classify the patients into each of the three subtypes and predict the prognosis of patients. Then, we reconstructed subtype-specific metabolic models and performed essential gene analysis to identify the potential drug targets. We identified four drug targets, including SOAT1, CRLS1, and ACACB, essential in all the three subtypes and GPD2, exclusively essential to subtype 1. Finally, we repositioned mitotane, an FDA-approved SOAT1 inhibitor, to treat ccRCC and showed that it decreased tumor cell viability and inhibited tumor cell growth based on in vitro experiments.

Keywords: bioinformatics; cancer systems biology; omics; systems biology.