Transcriptional coexpression network reveals the involvement of varying stem cell features with different dysregulations in different gastric cancer subtypes

Kalaivani Kalamohan, Jayaprakash Periasamy, Divya Bhaskar Rao, Georgina D. Barnabas, Srigayatri Ponnaiyan, Kumaresan Ganesan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the advancements in the cancer therapeutics, gastric cancer ranks as the second most common cancers with high global mortality rate. Integrative functional genomic investigation is a powerful approach to understand the major dysregulations and to identify the potential targets toward the development of targeted therapeutics for various cancers. Intestinal and diffuse type gastric tumors remain the major subtypes and the molecular determinants and drivers of these distinct subtypes remain unidentified. In this investigation, by exploring the network of gene coexpression association in gastric tumors, mRNA expressions of 20,318 genes across 200 gastric tumors were categorized into 21 modules. The genes and the hub genes of the modules show gastric cancer subtype specific expression. The expression patterns of the modules were correlated with intestinal and diffuse subtypes as well as with the differentiation status of gastric tumors. Among these, G1 module has been identified as a major driving force of diffuse type gastric tumors with the features of (i) enriched mesenchymal, mesenchymal stem cell like, and mesenchymal derived multiple lineages, (ii) elevated OCT1 mediated transcription, (iii) involvement of Notch activation, and (iv) reduced polycomb mediated epigenetic repression. G13 module has been identified as key factor in intestinal type gastric tumors and found to have the characteristic features of (i) involvement of embryonic stem cell like properties, (ii) Wnt, MYC and E2F mediated transcription programs, and (iii) involvement of polycomb mediated repression. Thus the differential transcription programs, differential epigenetic regulation and varying stem cell features involved in two major subtypes of gastric cancer were delineated by exploring the gene coexpression network. The identified subtype specific dysregulations could be optimally employed in developing subtype specific therapeutic targeting strategies for gastric cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1306-1325
Number of pages20
JournalMolecular Oncology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Diffuse subtype
  • Embryonic stem cells
  • Gastric cancer
  • Intestinal subtype
  • Mesenchymal stem cell differentiation
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Notch signaling
  • Polycomb repression


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