Abstract

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most fatal malignancies worldwide. Extensive enhancement of glycolysis and reprogramming of lipid metabolism are both associated with the development and progression of PDAC. Previous studies have suggested that various gene signatures could convey prognostic information about PDAC. However, the use of these signatures has some limitations, perhaps because of a lack of knowledge regarding the genetic and energy supply backgrounds of PDAC. Therefore, we conducted multi-mRNA analysis based on metabolic reprogramming to identify novel signatures for accurate prognosis prediction in PDAC patients. In this study, a three-gene signature comprising MET, ENO3 and CD36 was established to predict the overall survival of PDAC patients. The three-gene signature could divide patients into high- and low-risk groups by disparities in overall survival verified by log-rank test in two independent validation cohorts and could differentiate tumors from normal tissues with excellent accuracy in four Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) cohorts. We also found a positive correlation between the risk score of the gene signature and inherited germline mutations in PDAC predisposition genes. A glycolysis and lipid metabolism-based gene nomogram and corresponding calibration curves showed significant performance for survival prediction in the TCGA-PDAC dataset. The high-risk designation was closely connected with oncological signatures and multiple aggressiveness-related pathways, as determined by gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA). In summary, our study developed a three-gene signature and established a prognostic nomogram that objectively predicted overall survival in PDAC. The findings could provide a reference for the prediction of overall survival and could aid in individualized management for PDAC patients.