Elementary screening of lymph node metastatic-related genes in gastric cancer based on the co-expression network of messenger RNA, microRNA and long non-coding RNA

Gastric cancer (GC) is the fifth most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. The high mortality might be attributed to delay in detection and is closely related to lymph node metastasis. Therefore, it is of great importance to explore the mechanism of lymph node metastasis and find strategies to block GC metastasis. Messenger RNA (mRNA), microRNA (miRNA) and long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) expression data and clinical data were downloaded from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database. A total of 908 differentially expressed factors with variance >0.5 including 542 genes, 42 miRNA, and 324 lncRNA were screened using significant analysis microarray algorithm, and interaction networks were constructed using these differentially expressed factors. Furthermore, we conducted functional modules analysis in the network, and found that yellow and turquoise modules could separate samples efficiently. The groups classified in the yellow and turquoise modules had a significant difference in survival time, which was verified in another independent GC mRNA dataset (GSE62254). The results suggested that differentially expressed factors in the yellow and turquoise modules may participate in lymph node metastasis of GC and could be applied as potential biomarkers or therapeutic targets for GC.