Image_13_Classification of Estrogen Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer Based on Immunogenomic Profiling and Validation at Single-Cell Resolution.TIF (4.9 MB)
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posted on 21.09.2021, 04:45 authored by Xianxiong Ma, Hengyu Chen, Ming Yang, Zunxiang Ke, Mengyi Wang, Tao Huang, Lei Li

Background: The aim of this paper was to identify an immunotherapy-sensitive subtype for estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer (ER+ BC) patients by exploring the relationship between cancer genetic programs and antitumor immunity via multidimensional genome-scale analyses.

Methods: Multidimensional ER+ BC high-throughput data (raw count data) including gene expression profiles, copy number variation (CNV) data, single-nucleotide polymorphism mutation data, and relevant clinical information were downloaded from The Cancer Genome Atlas to explore an immune subtype sensitive to immunotherapy using the Consensus Cluster Plus algorithm based on multidimensional genome-scale analyses. One ArrayExpress dataset and eight Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) datasets (GEO-meta dataset) as well as the Molecular Taxonomy of Breast Cancer International Consortium dataset were used as validation sets to confirm the findings regarding the immune profiles, mutational features, and survival outcomes of the three identified immune subtypes. Moreover, the development trajectory of ER+ BC patients from the single-cell resolution level was also explored.

Results: Through comprehensive bioinformatics analysis, three immune subtypes of ER+ BC (C1, C2, and C3, designated the immune suppressive, activation, and neutral subtypes, respectively) were identified. C2 was associated with up-regulated immune cell signatures and immune checkpoint genes. Additionally, five tumor-related pathways (transforming growth factor, epithelial–mesenchymal transition, extracellular matrix, interferon-γ, and WNT signaling) tended to be more activated in C2 than in C1 and C3. Moreover, C2 was associated with a lower tumor mutation burden, a decreased neoantigen load, and fewer CNVs. Drug sensitivity analysis further showed that C2 may be more sensitive to immunosuppressive agents.

Conclusion: C2 (the immune activation subtype) may be sensitive to immunotherapy, which provides new insights into effective treatment approaches for ER+ BC.

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