Background:The biological basis for cancer of unknown primary (CUP) at the molecular level remains largely unknown, with no evidence of whether a common biological entity exists. Here, we assessed the possibility of identifying a common diagnostic biomarker for CUP using a microarray gene expression analysis.Methods:Tumor mRNA samples from 60 patients with CUP were analyzed using the Affymetrix U133A Plus 2.0 GeneChip and were normalized by asinh (hyperbolic arc sine) transformation to construct a mean gene-expression profile specific to CUP. A gene-expression profile specific to non-CUP group was constructed using publicly available raw microarray datasets. The t-tests were performed to compare the CUP with non-CUP groups and the top 59 CUP specific genes with the highest fold change were selected (p-value<0.001).Results:Among the 44 genes that were up-regulated in the CUP group, 6 genes for ribosomal proteins were identified. Two of these genes (RPS7 and RPL11) are known to be involved in the Mdm2-p53 pathway. We also identified several genes related to metastasis and apoptosis, suggesting a biological attribute of CUP.Conclusions:The protein products of the up-regulated and down-regulated genes identified in this study may be clinically useful as unique biomarkers for CUP.
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