In gliomas, expression of certain marker genes is strongly associated with survival and tumor type and often exceeds histological assessments. Using a human interactome model, we algorithmically reconstructed 7494 new-type molecular pathways that are centered each on an individual protein. Each single-gene expression and gene-centric pathway activation was tested as a survival and tumor grade biomarker in gliomas and their diagnostic subgroups (IDH mutant or wild type, IDH mutant with 1p/19q co-deletion, MGMT promoter methylated or unmethylated), including the three major molecular subtypes of glioblastoma (proneural, mesenchymal, classical). We used three datasets from The Cancer Genome Atlas and the Chinese Glioma Genome Atlas, which in total include 527 glioblastoma and 1097 low grade glioma profiles. We identified 2724 such gene and 2418 pathway survival biomarkers out of total 17,717 genes and 7494 pathways analyzed. We then assessed tumor grade and molecular subtype biomarkers and with the threshold of AUC > 0.7 identified 1322/982 gene biomarkers and 472/537 pathway biomarkers. This suggests roughly two times greater efficacy of the reconstructed pathway approach compared to gene biomarkers. Thus, we conclude that activation levels of algorithmically reconstructed gene-centric pathways are a potent class of new-generation diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for gliomas.
Keywords: RNA sequencing; gene expression; glioblastoma; human gliomas; interactome-assisted algorithms; low grade gliomas; molecular pathway analysis; survival and prognosis biomarkers; systems biology.