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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 287019, 9 pages
Research Article

Signal Propagation in Protein Interaction Network during Colorectal Cancer Progression

1Department of Surgery, China-Japan Union Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun 130033, China
2Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA
3College of Information Engineering, Shanghai Maritime University, Shanghai 201306, China
4Institute of Systems Biology, Shanghai University, Shanghai 200444, China
5King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
6Gordon Life Science Institute, 53 South Cottage Road, Belmont, MA 02478, USA

Received 16 January 2013; Accepted 18 February 2013

Academic Editor: Bin Niu

Copyright © 2013 Yang Jiang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Colorectal cancer is generally categorized into the following four stages according to its development or serious degree: Dukes A, B, C, and D. Since different stage of colorectal cancer actually corresponds to different activated region of the network, the transition of different network states may reflect its pathological changes. In view of this, we compared the gene expressions among the colorectal cancer patients in the aforementioned four stages and obtained the early and late stage biomarkers, respectively. Subsequently, the two kinds of biomarkers were both mapped onto the protein interaction network. If an early biomarker and a late biomarker were close in the network and also if their expression levels were correlated in the Dukes B and C patients, then a signal propagation path from the early stage biomarker to the late one was identified. Many transition genes in the signal propagation paths were involved with the signal transduction, cell communication, and cellular process regulation. Some transition hubs were known as colorectal cancer genes. The findings reported here may provide useful insights for revealing the mechanism of colorectal cancer progression at the cellular systems biology level.