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Construction and Analysis of lncRNA-Mediated ceRNA Network in Cervical Squamous Cell Carcinoma by Weighted Gene Co-Expression Network Analysis

Weihao Chen, Xudong Chen, Yurong Wang, Tianhao Liu, Yudan Liang, Ya Xiao, Liguo Chen

(College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jinan University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2019; 25:2609-2622

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.913471

BACKGROUND: More and more recent studies have clearly shown that long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) should be considered as a fundamental part of the ceRNA network, mainly because lncRNA can act as miRNA sponges to regulate the protein-coding gene expression. Nevertheless, it is still not clear how lncRNA-mediated ceRNAs function in cervical squamous cell carcinoma (CESC). Moreover, information about the ceRNA regulatory mechanism is also remarkably limited; thus, prediction of CESC prognosis using ceRNA-related information remains challenging.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We collected 306 RNA (lncRNA, miRNA, and mRNA) expression profile datasets obtained from cervical squamous cancer tissues plus 3 more from adjacent cervical tissues via the TCGA database. Subsequently, we constructed a lncRNAs-miRNAs-mRNAs CESC ceRNA network, and Gene Ontology (GO) analysis was carried out.
RESULTS: We identified a total of 30 DElncRNAs, 70 DEmiRNAs, and 1089 DEmRNAs in CESC. Subsequently, to reveal the expression patterns of dysregulated genes, weighted gene co-expression network analysis was carried out, resulting in 3 co-expression modules with significantly related clinical properties. The constructed aberrant lncRNAs-miRNAs-mRNAs CESC ceRNA network was composed of 17 DEmiRNAs, 5 DElncRNAs, and 7 DEmRNAs. Moreover, the survival analysis was performed for DElncRNAs, DEmiRNAs, and DEmRNAs.
CONCLUSIONS: The present study shows the involvement of the lncRNA-related ceRNA network in the pathogenesis of CESC. We believe the newly generated ceRNA network will provide more insights into the lncRNA-mediated ceRNA regulatory mechanisms.

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