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      UALCAN: A Portal for Facilitating Tumor Subgroup Gene Expression and Survival Analyses 1

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          Abstract

          Genomics data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project has led to the comprehensive molecular characterization of multiple cancer types. The large sample numbers in TCGA offer an excellent opportunity to address questions associated with tumo heterogeneity. Exploration of the data by cancer researchers and clinicians is imperative to unearth novel therapeutic/diagnostic biomarkers. Various computational tools have been developed to aid researchers in carrying out specific TCGA data analyses; however there is need for resources to facilitate the study of gene expression variations and survival associations across tumors. Here, we report UALCAN, an easy to use, interactive web-portal to perform to in-depth analyses of TCGA gene expression data. UALCAN uses TCGA level 3 RNA-seq and clinical data from 31 cancer types. The portal's user-friendly features allow to perform: 1) analyze relative expression of a query gene(s) across tumor and normal samples, as well as in various tumor sub-groups based on individual cancer stages, tumor grade, race, body weight or other clinicopathologic features, 2) estimate the effect of gene expression level and clinicopathologic features on patient survival; and 3) identify the top over- and under-expressed (up and down-regulated) genes in individual cancer types. This resource serves as a platform for in silico validation of target genes and for identifying tumor sub-group specific candidate biomarkers. Thus, UALCAN web-portal could be extremely helpful in accelerating cancer research. UALCAN is publicly available at http://ualcan.path.uab.edu.

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          Most cited references 49

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          RSEM: accurate transcript quantification from RNA-Seq data with or without a reference genome

           Bo Li,  Colin Dewey (2011)
          Background RNA-Seq is revolutionizing the way transcript abundances are measured. A key challenge in transcript quantification from RNA-Seq data is the handling of reads that map to multiple genes or isoforms. This issue is particularly important for quantification with de novo transcriptome assemblies in the absence of sequenced genomes, as it is difficult to determine which transcripts are isoforms of the same gene. A second significant issue is the design of RNA-Seq experiments, in terms of the number of reads, read length, and whether reads come from one or both ends of cDNA fragments. Results We present RSEM, an user-friendly software package for quantifying gene and isoform abundances from single-end or paired-end RNA-Seq data. RSEM outputs abundance estimates, 95% credibility intervals, and visualization files and can also simulate RNA-Seq data. In contrast to other existing tools, the software does not require a reference genome. Thus, in combination with a de novo transcriptome assembler, RSEM enables accurate transcript quantification for species without sequenced genomes. On simulated and real data sets, RSEM has superior or comparable performance to quantification methods that rely on a reference genome. Taking advantage of RSEM's ability to effectively use ambiguously-mapping reads, we show that accurate gene-level abundance estimates are best obtained with large numbers of short single-end reads. On the other hand, estimates of the relative frequencies of isoforms within single genes may be improved through the use of paired-end reads, depending on the number of possible splice forms for each gene. Conclusions RSEM is an accurate and user-friendly software tool for quantifying transcript abundances from RNA-Seq data. As it does not rely on the existence of a reference genome, it is particularly useful for quantification with de novo transcriptome assemblies. In addition, RSEM has enabled valuable guidance for cost-efficient design of quantification experiments with RNA-Seq, which is currently relatively expensive.
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            The cBio cancer genomics portal: an open platform for exploring multidimensional cancer genomics data.

            The cBio Cancer Genomics Portal (http://cbioportal.org) is an open-access resource for interactive exploration of multidimensional cancer genomics data sets, currently providing access to data from more than 5,000 tumor samples from 20 cancer studies. The cBio Cancer Genomics Portal significantly lowers the barriers between complex genomic data and cancer researchers who want rapid, intuitive, and high-quality access to molecular profiles and clinical attributes from large-scale cancer genomics projects and empowers researchers to translate these rich data sets into biologic insights and clinical applications. © 2012 AACR.
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              Comprehensive molecular portraits of human breast tumors

              Summary We analyzed primary breast cancers by genomic DNA copy number arrays, DNA methylation, exome sequencing, mRNA arrays, microRNA sequencing and reverse phase protein arrays. Our ability to integrate information across platforms provided key insights into previously-defined gene expression subtypes and demonstrated the existence of four main breast cancer classes when combining data from five platforms, each of which shows significant molecular heterogeneity. Somatic mutations in only three genes (TP53, PIK3CA and GATA3) occurred at > 10% incidence across all breast cancers; however, there were numerous subtype-associated and novel gene mutations including the enrichment of specific mutations in GATA3, PIK3CA and MAP3K1 with the Luminal A subtype. We identified two novel protein expression-defined subgroups, possibly contributed by stromal/microenvironmental elements, and integrated analyses identified specific signaling pathways dominant in each molecular subtype including a HER2/p-HER2/HER1/p-HER1 signature within the HER2-Enriched expression subtype. Comparison of Basal-like breast tumors with high-grade Serous Ovarian tumors showed many molecular commonalities, suggesting a related etiology and similar therapeutic opportunities. The biologic finding of the four main breast cancer subtypes caused by different subsets of genetic and epigenetic abnormalities raises the hypothesis that much of the clinically observable plasticity and heterogeneity occurs within, and not across, these major biologic subtypes of breast cancer.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Neoplasia
                Neoplasia
                Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)
                Neoplasia Press
                1522-8002
                1476-5586
                18 July 2017
                August 2017
                18 July 2017
                : 19
                : 8
                : 649-658
                Affiliations
                [* ]Molecular and Cellular Pathology, Department of Pathology, University of Alabama at Birmingham
                []Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35233, USA
                []Department of Medicine, Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Human Genome Sequencing Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Address all correspondence to: Sooryanarayana Varambally, PhD, Molecular and Cellular Pathology, Department of Pathology, Wallace Tumor Institute, Room # 420B, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35233, USA.Molecular and Cellular Pathology, Department of PathologyWallace Tumor InstituteUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamRoom # 420BBirminghamAL35233USA soorya@ 123456uab.edu
                Article
                S1476-5586(17)30179-3
                10.1016/j.neo.2017.05.002
                5516091
                28732212
                © 2017 The Authors

                This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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