Temporal analysis of oncogenesis using microrna expression data
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have rapidly become the focus of many cancer research studies. These small non-coding RNAs have been shown to play important roles in the regulation of oncogenes and tumor suppressors. It has also been demonstrated that miRNA expression profiles differ significantly between normal and cancerous cells, which indicates the possibility of using miRNAs as markers for cancer diagnosis and prognosis. However, not much is known about the regulation of miRNA expression. One of the issues worth investigating is whether deregulations of miRNA expression in cancer cells occur according to some pattern or in a random order. We therefore selected two approaches, previously used to derive graph models of oncogenesis using chromosomal imbalance data, and adapted them to miRNA expression data. Applying the adapted algorithms to a breast cancer data set, we obtained results indicating the temporal order of miRNA deregulations during tumor development. When analyzing the specific deregulations appearing at different time points in the derived model, we found that several of the deregulations identified as early events could be supported through literature studies.
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