The progression of bladder cancer is generally a complex and dynamic process, involving a variety of biological factors. Here, we aimed to identify a set of survival-related genes that play an important role in the progression of bladder cancer and uncover their synergistic patterns. Based on the large-scale genomic profiling data and clinical information of 404 bladder cancer patients derived from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database, we first discovered 1078 survival-related genes related to their survival states using univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazardous regression. We then investigated the dynamic changes of the cooperative behaviors of these 1078 genes by analyzing their respective genomic features, including copy number variations, DNA methylations, somatic mutations, and microRNA regulatory networks. Our analyses showed that during the progression of bladder cancer, the biological disorder involving the identified survival-related genes can be reflected by multiple levels of abnormal gene regulation, ranging from genomic alteration to post-transcriptional dysregulation. In particular, the stage-specific co-expression networks of these genes undergo a series of structural variations. Our findings provide useful hints on understanding the underlying complex molecular mechanisms related to the evolution of bladder cancer and offer a new perspective on clinical diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer.

Genes. 2019 Jun 17*** epublish ***

Bin Zhou, Rui Guo

School of Life Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China. ., Department of Biochemistry and Molecular biology, Shanxi Medical University, Taiyuan 030001, China. .