Pan-Cancer Multiomics Analysis of TC2N Gene Suggests its Important Role(s) in Tumourigenesis of Many Cancers

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Pathology, Dow International Medical College, Dow University of Health Sciences Karachi, Pakistan.

2 Department of Oral Pathology, Dow Dental College, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan.

3 Department of Pathology, Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences Jamshoro, Pakistan.

4 Department of Paediatrics, Dow University of Health Sciences Karachi, Pakistan.


Background: Role of TC2N in carcinogenesis has been largely unfathomed until recently when it was identified as a novel oncogene in lung cancer. Subsequently, a tumour suppressor role of TC2N was reported in breast cancer. It is therefore highly relevant to investigate TC2N molecular partners/mechanisms on a larger scale including a wider range of tumour types. Methods: We investigated TC2N mRNA expression, its promoter methylation levels, effects of TC2N transcription on overall patient survival, somatic mutations in TC2N gene and correlation between TC2N mRNA expression and other cancer genes in pan-cancer by using data available from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and the Genotype Tissue Expression (GTEx) databases. Results: TC2N mRNA expression was differentially regulated in 9/33 TCGA tumour types. Of these 9 tumours, 5 tumour types (cholangiocarcinoma, ovarian-serous-cystadenocarcinoma, rectal-adenocarcinoma, stomach-adenocarcinoma and thymoma) had significantly higher TC2N mRNA expression while 4 (pheochromocytoma-and-paraganglioma, skin-cutaneous-melanoma, thyroid-carcinoma and uterine-carcinosarcoma) had significantly lower TC2N mRNA expression compared to matched and normal controls. TC2N promoter was hypermethylated in most cancers while hypomethylated in head-and-neck-squamous-cell-carcinoma and kidney-renal-clear-cell carcinoma. TC2N transcription was positively correlated with transcription of several other cancer genes including genes from Myc, cell-cycle, Nrf2, Wnt, PI3K, Hippo, Notch, TGFβ and RAS/RTK pathways. Poor prognosis was associated with higher TC2N mRNA levels in pancreatic-adenocarcinoma and brain-lower-grade-glioma and lower TC2N mRNA levels in kidney-renal-clear-cell-carcinoma, mesothelioma, sarcoma and skin-cutaneous melanoma. Functional protein partners of TC2N were identified as STX2, SMEK1, SMEK2, STXBP5, SCARA5, MMRN1, CATSPER2, CATSPERB, CLEC4M and STAB2. Many of these proteins are key players in carcinogenesis of various cancers. Highest pathogenic somatic mutation rates in TC2N were found in skin-cutaneous-melanoma, uterine-corpus-endometrial-carcinoma, colon-endocervical-adenocarcinoma, bladder-urothelial-carcinoma and breast-invasive-carcinoma. Conclusion: Our findings unravel several un-explored avenues related to the role of TC2N in tumourigenesis of several cancers, suggesting TC2N as an important player and a potential candidate for tumour-therapy.


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