Multi-Omics Analysis Detects Novel Prognostic Subgroups of Breast Cancer


The unprecedented proliferation of recent large-scale and multi-omics databases of cancers has given us many new insights into genomic and epigenomic deregulation in cancer discovery in general. However, we wonder whether or not there exists a systematic connection between copy number aberrations (CNA) and methylation (MET)? If so, what is the role of this connection in breast cancer (BRCA) tumorigenesis and progression? At the same time, the PAM50 intrinsic subtypes of BRCA have gained the most attention from BRCA experts. However, this classification system manifests its weaknesses including low accuracy as well as a possible lack of association with biological phenotypes, and even further investigations on their clinical utility were still needed. In this study, we performed an integrative analysis of three-omics profiles, CNA, MET, and mRNA expression, in two BRCA patient cohorts (one for discovery and another for validation) – to elucidate those complicated relationships. To this purpose, we first established a set of CNAcor and METcor genes, which had CNA and MET levels significantly correlated (and anti-correlated) with their corresponding expression levels, respectively. Next, to revisit the current classification of BRCA, we performed single and integrated clustering analyses using our clustering method PINSPlus. We then discovered two biologically distinct subgroups that could be an improved and refined classification system for breast cancer patients, which can be validated by a third-party data. Further studies were then performed and realized each-subgroup-specific genes and different interactions between each of the two identified subgroups with the age factor. These findings can show promise as diagnostic and prognostic values in BRCA, and a potential alternative to the PAM50 intrinsic subtypes in the future.

Frontiers in Genetics
Quang-Huy Nguyen
PhD Student