Comprehensive analysis of autophagy associated genes and immune infiltrates in cervical cancer

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Gynecologic Oncology, Guangxi Medical University Cancer Hospital Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region 530021, PR China



Objective(s): Cervical cancer (CC) is the most common gynecological malignant tumor and the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in women. The progression of CC is significantly affected by autophagy. Our objective was to use bioinformatics analysis to explore the expression, prognostic significance, and immune infiltration of autophagy-related genes in CC. 
Materials and Methods: We identified a set of autophagy-related differentially expressed genes (ARDEGs) from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA)  and Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) databases. ARDEGs were further validated by The Human Protein Atlas (HPA), GSE52903, and GSE39001 dataset. Hub genes were found by the STRING network and Cytoscape. We performed Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA), Gene ontology analysis (GO), Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analysis, and immune infiltration analysis to further understand the functions of the hub genes. Kaplan-Meier (K-M) and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) were used to check the hub genes. 
Results: A total of 10 up-regulated (CXCR4, BAX, SPHK1,  EIF2AK2, TBK1, TNFSF10, ITGB4, CDKN2A, IL24, and BIRC5) and 19 down-regulated  (PINK1, ATG16L2, ATG4D, IKBKE, MLST8, MAPK3, ERBB2, ULK3, TP53INP2, MTMR14, BNIP3, FOS, CCL2, FAS, CAPNS1, HSPB8, PTK6, FKBP1B , and DNAJB1) ARDEGs were identified.  The ARDEGs were enriched in cell growth, apoptosis, human papillomavirus infection, and cytokine-mediated. Then, we found that low expression of MAPK3 was associated with poor prognosis in CC patients and was significantly enriched in immune pathways. In addition, the expression of MAPK3 was significantly positively correlated with the infiltration levels of macrophages, B cells, mast cell activation, and cancer-associated fibroblasts. Furthermore, MAPK3 was positively correlated with LGALS9, and negatively correlated with CTLA4 and CD40. 
Conclusion: Our results show that MAPK3 can be used as a new prognostic biomarker to predict the prognosis of patients with CC.


Main Subjects

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