Background: Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs) are precursor lesions of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). IPMNs are generally associated with high risk of developing malignancy and therefore need to be diagnosed and assessed accurately, once detected. Existing diagnostic methods are inadequate, and identification of efficient biomarker capable of detecting high-risk IPMNs is necessitated. Moreover, the mechanism of development of malignancy in IPMNs is also elusive.
Methods: Gene expression meta-analysis conducted using 12 low-risk IPMN and 23 high-risk IPMN tissue samples. We have also listed all the altered miRNAs and long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), identified their target genes, and performed pathway analysis. We further enlisted cyst fluid proteins detected to be altered in high-risk or malignant IPMNs and compared them with fraction of differentially expressed genes secreted into cyst fluid.
Results: Our meta-analysis identified 270 upregulated and 161 downregulated genes characteristically altered in high-risk IPMNs. We further identified 61 miRNAs and 14 lncRNAs and their target genes and key pathways contributing towards understanding of the gene regulation during the progression of the disease. Most importantly, we have detected 12 genes altered significantly both in cystic lesions and cyst fluid.
Conclusion: Our study reports, for the first time, a meta-analysis identifying key changes in gene expression between low-risk and high-risk IPMNs and also explains the regulatory aspect through construction of a miRNA-lncRNA-mRNA interaction network. The 12-gene-signature could function as potential biomarker in cyst fluid for detection of IPMN with a high risk of developing malignancy.