Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death worldwide. Due to the lack of early diagnosis methods and warning signals of CRC and its strong heterogeneity, the determination of accurate treatments for CRC and the identification of specific early warning signals are still urgent problems for researchers. In this study, the expression profiles of cancer tissues and the expression profiles of tumor-adjacent tissues in 28 CRC patients were combined into a human protein–protein interaction (PPI) network to construct a specific network for each patient. A network propagation method was used to obtain a mutant giant cluster (GC) containing more than 90% of the mutation information of one patient. Next, mutation selection rules were applied to the GC to mine the mutation sequence of driver genes in each CRC patient. The mutation sequences from patients with the same type CRC were integrated to obtain the mutation sequences of driver genes of different types of CRC, which provide a reference for the diagnosis of clinical CRC disease progression. Finally, dynamic network analysis was used to mine dynamic network biomarkers (DNBs) in CRC patients. These DNBs were verified by clinical staging data to identify the critical transition point between the pre-disease state and the disease state in tumor progression. Twelve known drug targets were found in the DNBs, and 6 of them have been used as targets for anticancer drugs for clinical treatment. This study provides important information for the prognosis, diagnosis and treatment of CRC, especially for pre-emptive treatments. It is of great significance for reducing the incidence and mortality of CRC.
Read full text: Liu L, Shao Z, Lv J, Xu F, Ren S, Jin Q, Yang J, Ma W, Xie H, Zhang D and Chen X (2020) Identification of Early Warning Signals at the Critical Transition Point of Colorectal Cancer Based on Dynamic Network Analysis. Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol. 8:530. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2020.00530