Integrated use of bioinformatic resources reveals that co-targeting of histone deacetylases, IKBK and SRC inhibits epithelial-mesenchymal transition in cancer

Farnaz Barneh, Mehdi Mirzaie, Payman Nickchi, Tuan Zea Tan, Jean Paul Thiery, Mehran Piran, Mona Salimi, Fatemeh Goshadrou, Amir R. Aref, Mohieddin Jafari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

With the advent of high-throughput technologies leading to big data generation, increasing number of gene signatures are being published to predict various features of diseases such as prognosis and patient survival. However, to use these signatures for identifying therapeutic targets, use of additional bioinformatic tools is indispensible part of research. Here, we have generated a pipeline comprised of nearly 15 bioinformatic tools and enrichment statistical methods to propose and validate a drug combination strategy from already approved drugs and present our approach using published pan-cancer epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) signatures as a case study. We observed that histone deacetylases were critical targets to tune expression of multiple epithelial versus mesenchymal genes. Moreover, SRC and IKBK were the principal intracellular kinases regulating multiple signaling pathways. To confirm the anti-EMT efficacy of the proposed target combination in silico, we validated expression of targets in mesenchymal versus epithelial subtypes of ovarian cancer. Additionally, we inhibited the pinpointed proteins in vitro using an invasive lung cancer cell line. We found that whereas low-dose mono-therapy failed to limit cell dispersion from collagen spheroids in a microfluidic device as a metric of EMT, the combination fully inhibited dissociation and invasion of cancer cells toward cocultured endothelial cells. Given the approval status and safety profiles of the suggested drugs, the proposed combination set can be considered in clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-731
Number of pages15
JournalBriefings in Bioinformatics
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • bioinformatics
  • cancer
  • combinatorial drug therapy
  • epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)
  • systems pharmacology

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