A New Stemness-Related Prognostic Model for Predicting the Prognosis in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

Biomed Res Int. 2021 Oct 11;2021:6669570. doi: 10.1155/2021/6669570. eCollection 2021.


Objective: This study is aimed at identifying stemness-related genes in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).

Methods: The RNA-seq data of PADC patients were downloaded from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) databases. The mRNA expression-based stemness index (mRNAsi) and epigenetically regulated mRNAsi (EREG-mRNAsi) of PADC patients were evaluated. The mRNAsi-related gene sets in PADC were identified by weighted gene coexpression network analysis (WGCNA). The key genes were further analyzed using functional enrichment analysis. The Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and the Cox proportional hazards model were used to evaluate the prognostic value of the key genes. Prognostic hub genes were used to establish nomograms. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves, concordance index (C-index), and calibration curves were used to assess the discrimination and accuracy of the nomogram. Finally, these results were validated in the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database.

Results: A total of 36 key genes related to mRNAsi were identified by WGCNA. A prognostic gene signature compromising seven genes (TPX2, ZWINT, UBE2C, CCNB2, CDK1, BUB1, and BIRC5) was established to predict the overall survival (OS) of PADC patients. The Cox regression analysis revealed that the risk score was an independent prognostic factor for PADC. Patients were then divided into the high-risk and low-risk groups. The ROC curves, C-index, and calibration curves indicated good performance of the prognostic signature in the TCGA and GEO datasets. Moreover, the nomogram incorporating clinical parameters showed better sensitivity and specificity for predicting the OS of PADC patients.

Conclusion: The stemness-related prognostic model successfully predicted the OS of PADC patients and could be used for the treatment of PADC.