Vestigial like family member 3 (VGLL3) is associated with the prognosis of epithelial ovarian cancer and soft tissue sarcoma, but its role in gastric cancer (GC) is unclear.
To explore the expression pattern and clinical significance of VGLL3 in GC.
Integrative analysis was performed on the GC transcriptome profiles and survival information deposited in the ONCOMINE, GEPIA, and ONCOLNC databases. The expression levels of VGLL3 mRNA and protein were analyzed in the freshly resected tumor and normal gastric tissues from GC patients by quantitative RT-PCR and Western blot, respectively. In addition, the in situ expression of VGLL3 in the GC tissues was determined by immunohistochemistry (IHC), and the patients were accordingly classified into the high and low expression groups. The correlation of VGLL3 expression status with patient prognosis was then determined by univariate and multivariate Cox regression analyses.
Analysis of the ONCOMINE and GEPIA databases showed that VGLL3 was significantly up-regulated in GC tissues (P = 0.003), and associated with the tumor TNM stage (P = 0.0163). The high VGLL3 expression group had a significantly worse prognosis compared to the low expression group, as per both GEPIA (P = 0.0057) and ONCOLNC (P = 0.01). The bioinformatics results were validated by the significantly higher VGLL3 mRNA and protein levels in the GC tissues compared to the adjacent normal tissues (P < 0.001) in a cohort of 30 GC patients. Furthermore, high in situ expression of VGLL3 protein was associated with more advanced N and TNM stages and HER2 mutation (P < 0.05) in a cohort of 172 patients. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that the high VGLL3 expression group had a worse prognosis compared to the low expression group (P = 0.019). Multivariate analysis showed that VGLL3 expression status was an independent risk factor for prognosis. In addition, the prognostic risk model nomogram showed that VGLL3 was the most important indicator, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC) of 0.613 for 3-year survival and 0.706 for 5-year survival. Finally, the protein interaction network analysis revealed that VGLL3 is likely involved in the Hippo signaling pathway.
VGLL3 is overexpressed in GC tissues and associated with a poor prognosis, indicating its potential as a novel prognosis biomarker and therapeutic target for GC.