Background: Current knowledge about the molecular properties and prognostic markers of upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) is sparse and often based on bladder urothelial carcinoma (UC), which is thought to share common risk factors with UTUC. However, studies have suggested that differences exist regarding tumor behavior and molecular biology of these cancers, comprehensive investigations are needed to guide the clinical management of UTUC. In recent years, massively parallel sequencing has allowed insights into the biology of many cancers, and molecular prognostic markers based on this approach are rapidly emerging. The goal of this study was to characterize the gene expression patterns of UTUC using massively parallel sequencing, and identify potential molecular markers for prognosis in patients with UTUC. Methods: We compared the genome-wide mRNA expression profile of cancer and matched normal tissues from 10 patients with UTUC to identify significantly deregulated genes. We also examined the protein levels of prognostic marker candidates in 103 patients with UTUC, and tested the association of these markers with overall survival using Kaplan-Meier model and Cox regression. Results: Functional enrichment of significantly deregulated genes revealed that expression patterns of UTUC were characterized by disorders of cell proliferation and metabolism. And we also compared the expression profile of UTUC with that of bladder UC. Our results highlighted both shared (e.g. disorders of cell cycling and growth signal transduction) and tumor-specific (e.g. abnormal metabolism in UTUC and disruptions of adhesion pathways in bladder UC) features of these two cancers. Importantly, we identified that low protein expression of ALDH2 while high CCNE1 and SMAD3 were significantly associated with increased depth (*P <0.05) and lower overall survival (***P <0.0001) in an independent set of 103 patients. Multivariate Cox regression revealed that all these three genes were independent prognostic indicators in patients with UTUC (***P <0.001). Conclusions: In conclusion, our study characterized the comprehensive expression profile of UTUC and highlighted both commons and differences in expression patterns between UTUC and bladder UC. And we, for the first time, revealed that ALDH2, CCNE1 and SMAD3 are associated with prognosis in patients with UTUC.
- Global gene expression profiling
- Upper tract urothelial carcinoma of renal pelvis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research