Scientific Reports (Jan 2022)

Identification of long non-coding RNAs and RNA binding proteins in breast cancer subtypes

  • Claudia Cava,
  • Alexandros Armaos,
  • Benjamin Lang,
  • Gian G. Tartaglia,
  • Isabella Castiglioni

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 12, no. 1
pp. 1 – 13


Read online

Abstract Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease classified into four main subtypes with different clinical outcomes, such as patient survival, prognosis, and relapse. Current genetic tests for the differential diagnosis of BC subtypes showed a poor reproducibility. Therefore, an early and correct diagnosis of molecular subtypes is one of the challenges in the clinic. In the present study, we identified differentially expressed genes, long non-coding RNAs and RNA binding proteins for each BC subtype from a public dataset applying bioinformatics algorithms. In addition, we investigated their interactions and we proposed interacting biomarkers as potential signature specific for each BC subtype. We found a network of only 2 RBPs (RBM20 and PCDH20) and 2 genes (HOXB3 and RASSF7) for luminal A, a network of 21 RBPs and 53 genes for luminal B, a HER2-specific network of 14 RBPs and 30 genes, and a network of 54 RBPs and 302 genes for basal BC. We validated the signature considering their expression levels on an independent dataset evaluating their ability to classify the different molecular subtypes with a machine learning approach. Overall, we achieved good performances of classification with an accuracy >0.80. In addition, we found some interesting novel prognostic biomarkers such as RASSF7 for luminal A, DCTPP1 for luminal B, DHRS11, KLC3, NAGS, and TMEM98 for HER2, and ABHD14A and ADSSL1 for basal. The findings could provide preliminary evidence to identify putative new prognostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets for individual breast cancer subtypes.