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Hai-xing Zhu and Lin Shi contributed equally to this work
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related morbidity and mortality worldwide. Patients with chronic respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are exposed to a higher risk of developing lung cancer. Chronic inflammation may play an important role in the lung carcinogenesis among those patients. The present study aimed at identifying candidate biomarker predicting lung cancer risk among patients with chronic respiratory diseases.
We applied clinical bioinformatics tools to analyze different gene profile datasets with a special focus on screening the potential biomarker during chronic inflammation-lung cancer transition. Then we adopted an in vitro model based on LPS-challenged A549 cells to validate the biomarker through RNA-sequencing, quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction, and western blot analysis.
Bioinformatics analyses of the 16 enrolled GSE datasets from Gene Expression Omnibus online database showed myocyte enhancer factor 2D (MEF2D) level significantly increased in COPD patients coexisting non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). Inflammation challenge increased MEF2D expression in NSCLC cell line A549, associated with the severity of inflammation. Extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase inhibition could reverse the up-regulation of MEF2D in inflammation-activated A549. MEF2D played a critical role in NSCLC cell bio-behaviors, including proliferation, differentiation, and movement.
Inflammatory conditions led to increased MEF2D expression, which might further contribute to the development of lung cancer through influencing cancer microenvironment and cell bio-behaviors. MEF2D might be a potential biomarker during chronic inflammation-lung cancer transition, predicting the risk of lung cancer among patients with chronic respiratory diseases.