Identification of cell cycle as the critical pathway modulated by exosome-derived microRNAs in gallbladder carcinoma

Med Oncol. 2021 Oct 16;38(12):141. doi: 10.1007/s12032-021-01594-8.


Gallbladder cancer (GBC), the most common malignancy in the biliary tract, is highly lethal malignant due to seldomly specific symptoms in the early stage of GBC. This study aimed to identify exosome-derived miRNAs mediated competing endogenous RNAs (ceRNA) participant in GBC tumorigenesis. A total of 159 differentially expressed miRNAs (DEMs) was identified as exosome-derived miRNAs, contains 34 upregulated exo-DEMs and 125 downregulated exo-DEMs based on the expression profiles in GBC clinical samples downloaded from the Gene Expression Omnibus database with the R package. Among them, 2 up-regulated exo-DEMs, hsa-miR-125a-3p and hsa-miR-4647, and 5 down-regulated exo-DEMs, including hsa-miR-29c-5p, hsa-miR-145a-5p, hsa-miR-192-5p, hsa-miR-194-5p, and hsa-miR-338-3p, were associated with the survival of GBC patients. Results of the gene set enrichment analysis showed that the cell cycle-related pathways were activated in GBC tumor tissues, mainly including cell cycle, M phase, and cell cycle checkpoints. Furthermore, the dysregulated ceRNA network was constructed based on the lncRNA-miRNA-mRNA interactions using miRDB, TargetScan, miRTarBase, miRcode, and starBase v2.0., consisting of 27 lncRNAs, 6 prognostic exo-DEMs, and 176 mRNAs. Together with prognostic exo-DEMs, the STEAP3-AS1/hsa-miR-192-5p/MAD2L1 axis was identified, suggesting lncRNA STEAP3-AS1, might as a sponge of exosome-derived hsa-miR-192-5p, modulates cell cycle progression via affecting MAD2L1 expression in GBC tumorigenesis. In addition, the biological functions of genes in the ceRNA network were also annotated by Gene Ontology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes. Our study promotes exploration of the molecular mechanisms associated with tumorigenesis and provide potential targets for GBC diagnosis and treatment.

Keywords: Carcinogenesis; Differentially expressed genes; Gallbladder cancer; ceRNA; miRNA.