SPONGEdb: a pan-cancer resource for competing endogenous RNA interactions


microRNAs (miRNAs) are post-transcriptional regulators involved in many biological processes and human diseases, including cancer. The majority of transcripts compete over a limited pool of miRNAs, giving rise to a complex network of competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) interactions. Currently, gene-regulatory networks focus mostly on transcription factor-mediated regulation, and dedicated efforts for charting ceRNA regulatory networks are scarce. Recently, it became possible to infer ceRNA interactions genome-wide from matched gene and miRNA expression data. Here, we inferred ceRNA regulatory networks for 22 cancer types and a pan-cancer ceRNA network based on data from The Cancer Genome Atlas. To make these networks accessible to the biomedical community, we present SPONGEdb, a database offering a user-friendly web interface to browse and visualize ceRNA interactions and an application programming interface accessible by accompanying R and Python packages. SPONGEdb allows researchers to identify potent ceRNA regulators via network centrality measures and to assess their potential as cancer biomarkers through survival, cancer hallmark and gene set enrichment analysis. In summary, SPONGEdb is a feature-rich web resource supporting the community in studying ceRNA regulation within and across cancer types.

NAR Cancer