Ion channels are important regulators in cell proliferation, migration, and apoptosis. The malfunction and/or aberrant expression of ion channels may disrupt these important biological processes and influence cancer progression. In this study, we investigate the expression pattern of ion channel genes in glioma. We designate 18 ion channel genes that are differentially expressed in high-grade glioma as a prognostic molecular signature. This ion channel gene expression based signature predicts glioma outcome in three independent validation cohorts. Interestingly, 16 of these 18 genes were down-regulated in high-grade glioma. This signature is independent of traditional clinical, molecular, and histological factors. Resampling tests indicate that the prognostic power of the signature outperforms random gene sets selected from human genome in all the validation cohorts. More importantly, this signature performs better than the random gene signatures selected from glioma-associated genes in two out of three validation datasets. This study implicates ion channels in brain cancer, thus expanding on knowledge of their roles in other cancers. Individualized profiling of ion channel gene expression serves as a superior and independent prognostic tool for glioma patients.
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