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In Frontiers in pharmacology

Accurate identification of molecular targets of disease plays an important role in diagnosis, prognosis, and therapies. Breast cancer (BC) is one of the most common malignant cancers in women worldwide. Thus, the objective of this study was to accurately identify a set of molecular targets and small molecular drugs that might be effective for BC diagnosis, prognosis, and therapies, by using existing bioinformatics and network-based approaches. Nine gene expression profiles (GSE54002, GSE29431, GSE124646, GSE42568, GSE45827, GSE10810, GSE65216, GSE36295, and GSE109169) collected from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database were used for bioinformatics analysis in this study. Two packages, LIMMA and clusterProfiler, in R were used to identify overlapping differential expressed genes (oDEGs) and significant GO and KEGG enrichment terms. We constructed a PPI (protein-protein interaction) network through the STRING database and identified eight key genes (KGs) EGFR, FN1, EZH2, MET, CDK1, AURKA, TOP2A, and BIRC5 by using six topological measures, betweenness, closeness, eccentricity, degree, MCC, and MNC, in the Analyze Network tool in Cytoscape. Three online databases GSCALite, Network Analyst, and GEPIA were used to analyze drug enrichment, regulatory interaction networks, and gene expression levels of KGs. We checked the prognostic power of KGs through the prediction model using the popular machine learning algorithm support vector machine (SVM). We suggested four TFs (TP63, MYC, SOX2, and KDM5B) and four miRNAs (hsa-mir-16-5p, hsa-mir-34a-5p, hsa-mir-1-3p, and hsa-mir-23b-3p) as key transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulators of KGs. Finally, we proposed 16 candidate repurposing drugs YM201636, masitinib, SB590885, GSK1070916, GSK2126458, ZSTK474, dasatinib, fedratinib, dabrafenib, methotrexate, trametinib, tubastatin A, BIX02189, CP466722, afatinib, and belinostat for BC through molecular docking analysis. Using BC cell lines, we validated that masitinib inhibits the mTOR signaling pathway and induces apoptotic cell death. Therefore, the proposed results might play an effective role in the treatment of BC patients.

Alam Md Shahin, Sultana Adiba, Sun Hongyang, Wu Jin, Guo Fanfan, Li Qing, Ren Haigang, Hao Zongbing, Zhang Yi, Wang Guanghui


Breast cancer, apoptotic cell death, bioinformatics and network-based discovery, drug repurposing, gene expression profiles, molecular docking analysis, molecular targets