Genes and Pathways Involved in the Progression of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: A Meta-analysis of Genome-Wide Expression Studies

Biochem Genet. 2023 Jun 22. doi: 10.1007/s10528-023-10426-5. Online ahead of print.


Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare and aggressive neoplasm of the pleural tissue that lines the lungs and is mainly associated with long latency from asbestos exposure. This tumor has no effective therapeutic opportunities nowadays and has a very low five-year survival rate. In this sense, identifying molecular events that trigger the development and progression of this tumor is highly important to establish new and potentially effective treatments. We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide expression studies publicly available at the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) and ArrayExpress databases. The differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified, and we performed functional enrichment analysis and protein-protein interaction networks (PPINs) to gain insight into the biological mechanisms underlying these genes. Additionally, we constructed survival prediction models for selected DEGs and predicted the minimum drug inhibition concentration of anticancer drugs for MPM. In total, 115 MPM tumor transcriptomes and 26 pleural tissue controls were analyzed. We identified 1046 upregulated DEGs in the MPM samples. Cellular signaling categories in tumor samples were associated with the TNF, PI3K-Akt, and AMPK pathways. The inflammatory response, regulation of cell migration, and regulation of angiogenesis were overrepresented biological processes. Expression of SOX17 and TACC1 were associated with reduced survival rates. This meta-analysis identified a list of DEGs in MPM tumors, cancer-related signaling pathways, and biological processes that were overrepresented in MPM samples. Some therapeutic targets to treat MPM are suggested, and the prognostic potential of key genes is shown.

Keywords: Differentially expressed genes; Genome-wide expression studies; Malignant pleural mesothelioma; Meta-analysis.