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Integration of Cancer Gene Co-expression Network and Metabolic Network To Uncover Potential Cancer Drug Targets

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posted on 19.02.2016, 07:05 by Jingqi Chen, Ming Ma, Ning Shen, Jianzhong Jeff Xi, Weidong Tian
Cell metabolism is critical for cancer cell transformation and progression. In this study, we have developed a novel method, named Met-express, that integrates a cancer gene co-expression network with the metabolic network to predict key enzyme-coding genes and metabolites in cancer cell metabolism. Met-express successfully identified a group of key enzyme-coding genes and metabolites in lung, leukemia, and breast cancers. Literature reviews suggest that approximately 33–53% of the predicted genes are either known or suggested anti-cancer drug targets, while 22% of the predicted metabolites are known or high-potential drug compounds in therapeutic use. Furthermore, experimental validations prove that 90% of the selected genes and 70% of metabolites demonstrate the significant anti-cancer phenotypes in cancer cells, implying that they may play important roles in cancer metabolism. Therefore, Met-express is a powerful tool for uncovering novel therapeutic biomarkers.