Background: Esophageal carcinoma (ESCA) is a malignant tumor with high
invasiveness and mortality. Autophagy has multiple roles in the development of cancer; however,
there are limited data on autophagy genes associated with long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in
ESCA. The purpose of this study was to screen potential diagnostic and prognostic molecules and
to identify gene co-expression networks associated with autophagy in ESCA.
Methods: We downloaded transcriptome expression profiles from The Cancer Genome Atlas and
autophagy-related gene data from the Human Autophagy Database, and analyzed the co-expression
of mRNAs and lncRNAs. In addition, the diagnostic and prognostic value of autophagy-related
lncRNAs was analyzed by multivariate Cox regression. Furthermore, Kyoto Encyclopedia of
Genes and Genomes analysis was carried out for high-risk patients, and enriched pathways were
analyzed by gene set enrichment analysis.
Results: The results showed that genes of high-risk patients were enriched in protein export and
spliceosome. Based on Cox stepwise regression and survival analysis, we identified seven
autophagy-related lncRNAs with prognostic and diagnostic value, with the potential to be used as a
combination to predict the prognosis of patients with ESCA. Finally, a co-expression network
related to autophagy was constructed.
Conclusion: These results suggest that autophagy-related lncRNAs and the spliceosome play
important parts in the pathogenesis of ESCA. Our findings provide new insight into the molecular
mechanism of ESCA and suggest a new method for improving its treatment.