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Type: Journal article
Title: Analysis of gene expression in a developmental context emphasizes distinct biological leitmotifs in human cancers
Author: Naxerova, K.
Bult, C.
Peaston, A.
Fancher, K.
Knowles, B.
Kasif, S.
Kohane, I.
Citation: Genome Biology, 2008; 9(7):108-
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
Issue Date: 2008
ISSN: 1474-7596
Statement of
Kamila Naxerova, Carol J Bult, Anne Peaston, Karen Fancher, Barbara B Knowles, Simon Kasif and Isaac S Kohane
Abstract: Background: In recent years, the molecular underpinnings of the long-observed resemblance between neoplastic and immature tissue have begun to emerge. Genome-wide transcriptional profiling has revealed similar gene expression signatures in several tumor types and early developmental stages of their tissue of origin. However, it remains unclear whether such arelationship is a universal feature of malignancy, whether heterogeneities exist in the developmental component of different tumor types and to which degree the resemblance between cancer and development is a tissue-specific phenomenon. Results: We defined a developmental landscape by summarizing the main features of ten developmental time courses and projected gene expression from a variety of human tumor types onto this landscape. This comparison demonstrates a clear imprint of developmental gene expression in a wide range of tumors and with respect to different, even non-cognate developmental backgrounds. Our analysis reveals three classes of cancers with developmentally distinct transcriptional patterns. We characterize the biological processes dominating these classes and validate the class distinction with respect to a new time series of murine embryonic lung development. Finally, we identify a set of genes that are upregulated in most cancers and we show that this signature is active in early development. Conclusion: This systematic and quantitative overview of the relationship between the neoplastic and developmental transcriptome spanning dozens of tissues provides a reliable outline of global trends in cancer gene expression, reveals potentially clinically relevant differences in the gene expression of different cancer types and represents a reference framework for interpretation of smaller-scale functional studies.
Keywords: Animals
Cell Proliferation
Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
Rights: © 2008 Naxerova et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DOI: 10.1186/gb-2008-9-7-r108
Appears in Collections:Animal and Veterinary Sciences publications
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