Comparative transcriptome maps: a new approach to the diagnosis of colorectal carcinoma patients using cDNA microarrays
The progression of colorectal cancer involves accumulation of various genetic and epigenetic events that dramatically change gene expression. The aim of this study was to investigate a possible new approach to the diagnosis of colorectal carcinoma patients, based on their gene expression profiles. Human 19K cDNA microarrays were used to analyze the gene expression profiles of 18 colorectal carcinoma patients. Transcriptome maps (TMs) were analyzed to detect chromosomal regions that could serve as potential diagnostic markers for colon cancer. A comparison of TMs showed chromosome regions with conserved changes of gene expression typical of colorectal cancer in general, and also patient-specific variable regions. We identified 195 genes with significantly altered expression in colon cancer. Functional analysis of the regulated genes distinguished three main categories: biological processes, cellular components, and molecular functions. We found that different patients had chromosome regions characterized by very similar changes of gene expression, probably linked to the most fundamental events in carcinogenesis. On the other hand, variable chromosome regions can be patient-specific. The variable regions may provide further information on the individual pathogenesis and prognosis of the patient. Comparison of TMs is proposed as a tool to facilitate diagnosis and treatment planning for individual patients.