Background: Although many advances have been made in the field of molecular biology, new approaches are still required to reveal the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of rectal cancer and identify specific diagnostic and therapeutic targets.
Methods: Here, we determined the expression profiles of lncRNA, mRNA, and microRNA (miRNA) in rectal cancer, and constructed the lncRNA-mRNA-miRNA ceRNA networks to identify the hub lncRNAs, mRNAs, and miRNAs involved in this cancer. Moreover, survival analysis was performed to identify survival-related genes.
Results: A total of 69 DElncRNAs, 32 DEmiRNAs, and 84 DEmRNAs were included in the ceRNA network. Based on the ceRNA principle, lncRNA ADAMTS9-AS2 was predicted to regulate the expression of FOXF2 gene through competitive binding to miR-182. The result of log-rank test showed that three lncRNAs, five mRNAs, and one miRNA were associated with survival of rectal adenocarcinoma patients and multivariate Cox regression analysis identified four lncRNA signatures as prognostic factors.
Conclusions: These findings add to our understanding on the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of rectal cancer and reveal potential diagnostic and therapeutic targets.