Although the incidence of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is significantly higher in females than in males, the prognosis of male PTC is more unfavourable. However, the cause of higher malignancy of PTC in male patients remains unclear.
We searched all publicly available microarray datasets and performed a genome-wide meta-analysis comparing PTC and normal samples. Gene Ontology analysis was then conducted. The candidate genes were tested by qRT-PCR. The analysis of prognostic value of genes was performed with datasets from TCGA.
After meta-analysing 150 significantly differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were specifically found in male subjects. Gene Ontology analysis of these 150 genes revealed that viral process was activated. 7 genes involved in the viral process in male patients showed a significantly differential expression between PTC and normal tissue. Survival analysis exhibited that the 7 genes, used in combination, were prognostically valuable and of them, PSMB1 possessed a conspicuous prognostic value, especially in male.
In this study, we searched all publicly available microarray datasets and conducted a comprehensive analysis to understand the male propensity for higher malignancy. We found that, markers of viral infection showed significantly differential expression only in male patients as compared to their female counterparts and had a sex-sensitive prognostic value in PTC.