Convergent network effects along the axis of gene expression during prostate cancer progression
Nora C Toussaint,
Christine E. Fritz,
Niels J Rupp,
Jan H. Rüschoff,
Ariane L Moore,
María Rodríguez Martínez,
Michael C. Haffner,
Peter J Wild,
Posted 16 Feb 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.02.16.950378
Posted 16 Feb 2020
Background Tumor-specific genomic aberrations are routinely determined by high throughput genomic measurements. It remains unclear though, how complex genome alterations affect molecular networks through changing protein levels, and consequently biochemical states of tumor tissues. Results Here, we investigated the propagation of genomic effects along the axis of gene expression during prostate cancer progression. For that, we quantified genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic alterations based on 105 prostate samples, consisting of benign prostatic hyperplasia regions and malignant tumors, from 39 prostate cancer patients. Our analysis revealed convergent effects of distinct copy number alterations impacting on common downstream proteins, which are important for establishing the tumor phenotype. We devised a network-based approach that integrates perturbations across different molecular layers, which identified a sub-network consisting of nine genes whose joint activity positively correlated with increasingly aggressive tumor phenotypes and was predictive of recurrence-free survival. Further, our data revealed a wide spectrum of intra-patient network effects, ranging from similar to very distinct alterations on different molecular layers. Conclusions This study uncovered molecular networks with remarkably convergent alterations across tumor sites and patients, but it also exposed a diversity of network effects: we could not identify a single sub-network that was perturbed in all high-grade tumor regions. ### Competing Interest Statement R.A. holds shares of Biognosys AG, which operates in the field covered by the article. The research groups of R.A. and T.G. are supported by SCIEX, which provides access to prototype instrumentation, and Pressure Biosciences Inc., which provides access to advanced sample preparation instrumentation.
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