AIMS: Occupational exposure to chloroprene via inhalation may lead to acute toxicity and chronic pulmonary diseases, including lung cancer. Currently, most research is focused on epidemiological studies of chloroprene production workers. The specific molecular mechanism of carcinogenesis by chloroprene in lung tissues still remains obscure, and specific candidate therapeutic targets for lung cancer are lacking. The present study identifies specific gene modules and valuable hubs associated with lung cancer.
MAIN METHODS: We downloaded the dataset GSE40795 from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) and divided the dataset into the non-carcinogenic dose chloroprene exposed mice group and the carcinogenic dose chloroprene exposed mice group. With a systemic biological view, we discovered significantly altered gene modules between the two groups and identified hub genes in the carcinogenic dose exposed group using weighted co-expression network analysis (WGCNA).
KEY FINDINGS: A total of 2434 differentially expressed genes were identified. Twelve gene modules with multiple biological activities were related to the carcinogenesis of chloroprene in lung tissue. Seven hub genes that were critical for the carcinogenesis of chloroprene in lung tissue were ultimately identified, including Cftr, Hip1, Tbl1x, Ephx1, Cbr3, Antxr2 and Ccnd2. They were implicated in inflammatory response, cell transformation, gene transcription regulation, phase II detoxification, angiogenesis, cell adhesion, motility and the cell cycle.
SIGNIFICANCE: The seven hub genes may become valuable candidates for risk assessment biomarkers and therapeutic targets in lung cancer.