Identification of a potential bioinformatics-based biomarker in keloids and its correlation with immune infiltration

Eur J Med Res. 2023 Nov 2;28(1):476. doi: 10.1186/s40001-023-01421-y.


Keloid formation is a pathological consequence resulting from cutaneous irritation and injury, primarily attributed to excessive collagen matrix deposition and fibrous tissue proliferation. Chronic inflammation, left uncontrolled over an extended period, also stands as a substantial contributing factor. The precise mechanisms underlying keloid formation remain unclear. Therefore, this study aimed to identify key genes for diagnostic purposes. To achieve this, we used two Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) data sets to identify differentially expressed genes. We identified one particular gene, homeobox C9 (HOXC9), using a thorough strategy involving two algorithms (least absolute shrinkage and selection operator and support vector machine-recursive feature elimination) and weighted gene co-expression network analysis. We then assessed its expression in normal and keloid tissues. In addition, we explored its temporal expression patterns via Mfuzz time clustering analysis. In our comprehensive analysis, we observed that immune infiltration, as well as cell proliferation, are crucial to keloid formation. Thus, we investigated immune cell infiltration in the keloid and normal groups, as well as the correlation between HOXC9 and these immune cells. It was found that HOXC9 was closely associated with the immune microenvironment of keloids. This shows that HOXC9 can serve as a potential biomarker and therapeutic target for keloids.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Biomarkers
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Computational Biology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Keloid* / genetics


  • Biomarkers