Role of estrogen receptor signaling pathway-related genes in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and identification of key targets via integrated bioinformatics analysis and experimental validation

Front Oncol. 2022 Nov 29:12:1029998. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2022.1029998. eCollection 2022.


Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is a highly heterogeneous malignancy. Epidemiologically, the incidence of DLBCL is higher in men, and the female sex is a favorable prognostic factor, which can be explained by estrogen. This study aimed to explore the potential targets of the estrogen receptor (ER) signaling pathway and provide a meaningful way to treat DLBCL patients. Datasets were obtained from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs). Representative gene sets estrogen receptor pathways, and growth regulatory pathways were identified based on Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) analysis. Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) were used for function and pathway analysis. STRING and Cytoscape were used to construct the interaction network, and the MCODE plug-in performed the module analysis. GEPIA, TCGA, and LOGpc databases were used for expression and predictive analysis. The Human Protein Atlas (HPA) database was used to analyze the protein expression levels, cBioPortal was used to explore genetic alterations, and ROC analysis and prognostic assessment were used to predict the diagnostic value of genes. Finally, BJAB cells were treated with ER inhibitor fulvestrant and specific shRNA, and the expression of hub genes was verified by RT-qPCR. We identified 81 overlapping DEGs and CDC6, CDC20, KIF20A, STIL, and TOP2A as novel biomarkers affecting the prognosis of DLBCL. In addition, the STAT and KRAS pathways are considered potential growth regulatory pathways. These results hold promise for new avenues for the treatment of DLBCL patients.

Keywords: bioinformatics; biomarker; diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL); estrogen receptor (ER); prognosis.