Human cancers display a restricted set of expression profiles, despite diverse mutational drivers. This has led to the hypothesis that select sets of transcription factors act on similar target genes as an integrated network, buffering a tumor’s transcriptional state. Noninvasive papillary urothelial carcinoma (NIPUC) with higher cell cycle activity has higher risk of recurrence and progression. In this paper, we describe a transcriptional network of cell cycle dysregulation in NIPUC, which was delineated using the ARACNe algorithm applied to expression data from a new cohort (n = 81, RNA sequencing), and two previously published cohorts. The transcriptional network comprised 121 transcription factors, including the pluripotency factors SOX2 and SALL4, the sex hormone binding receptors ESR1 and PGR, and multiple homeobox factors. Of these 121 transcription factors, 65 and 56 were more active in tumors with greater and less cell cycle activity, respectively. When clustered by activity of these transcription factors, tumors divided into High Cell Cycle versus Low Cell Cycle groups. Tumors in the High Cell Cycle group demonstrated greater mutational burden and copy number instability. A putative mutational driver of cell cycle dysregulation, such as homozygous loss of CDKN2A, was found in only 50% of High Cell Cycle NIPUC, suggesting a prominent role of transcription factor activity in driving cell cycle dysregulation. Activity of the 121 transcription factors strongly associated with expression of EZH2 and other members of the PRC2 complex, suggesting regulation by this complex influences expression of the transcription factors in this network. Activity of transcription factors in this network also associated with signatures of pluripotency and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), suggesting they play a role in driving evolution to invasive carcinoma. Consistent with this, these transcription factors differed in activity between NIPUC and invasive urothelial carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16538
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'A transcriptional network of cell cycle dysregulation in noninvasive papillary urothelial carcinoma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this