UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Heme Biosynthesis mRNA Expression Signature: Towards a Novel Prognostic Biomarker in Patients with Diffusely Infiltrating Gliomas Mischkulnig, Mario; Kiesel, Barbara; Lötsch, Daniela; Roetzer, Thomas; Borkovec, Martin; Wadiura, Lisa I.; Roessler, Karl; Hervey-Jumper, Shawn; Penninger, Josef; Berger, Mitchel S.; et al.


Diffusely infiltrating gliomas are characterized by a variable clinical course, and thus novel prognostic biomarkers are needed. The heme biosynthesis cycle constitutes a fundamental metabolic pathway and might play a crucial role in glioma biology. The aim of this study was thus to investigate the role of the heme biosynthesis mRNA expression signature on prognosis in a large glioma patient cohort. Glioma patients with available sequencing data on heme biosynthesis expression were retrieved from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). In each patient, the heme biosynthesis mRNA expression signature was calculated and categorized into low, medium, and high expression subgroups. Differences in progression-free and overall survival between these subgroups were investigated including a multivariate analysis correcting for WHO grade, tumor subtype, and patient age and sex. In a total of 693 patients, progression-free and overall survival showed a strictly monotonical decrease with increasing mRNA expression signature subgroups. In detail, median overall survival was 134.2 months in the low, 79.9 months in the intermediate, and 16.5 months in the high mRNA expression signature subgroups, respectively. The impact of mRNA expression signature on progression-free and overall survival was independent of the other analyzed prognostic factors. Our data indicate that the heme biosynthesis mRNA expression signature might serve as an additional novel prognostic marker in patients with diffusely infiltrating gliomas to optimize postoperative management.

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