A 35-gene signature discriminates between rapidly- and slowly-progressing glioblastoma multiforme and predicts survival in known subtypes of the cancer
Fatai, Azeez A.
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BACKGROUND: Gene expression can be employed for the discovery of prognostic gene or multigene signatures cancer. In this study, we assessed the prognostic value of a 35-gene expression signature selected by pathway and machine learning based methods in adjuvant therapy-linked glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) patients from the Cancer Genome Atlas. METHODS: Genes with high expression variance was subjected to pathway enrichment analysis and those having roles in chemoradioresistance pathways were used in expression-based feature selection. A modified Support Vector Machine Recursive Feature Elimination algorithm was employed to select a subset of these genes that discriminated between rapidly-progressing and slowly-progressing patients. RESULTS: Survival analysis on TCGA samples not used in feature selection and samples from four GBM subclasses, as well as from an entirely independent study, showed that the 35-gene signature discriminated between the survival groups in all cases (p < 0.05) and could accurately predict survival irrespective of the subtype. In a multivariate analysis, the signature predicted progression-free and overall survival independently of other factors considered. CONCLUSION: We propose that the performance of the signature makes it an attractive candidate for further studies to assess its utility as a clinical prognostic and predictive biomarker in GBM patients. Additionally, the signature genes may also be useful therapeutic targets to improve both progression-free and overall survival in GBM patients.