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posted on 21.07.2021, 05:14 authored by Xiaoxi Shi, Yuanlin Liu, Shuai Cheng, Haidi Hu, Jian Zhang, Minjie Wei, Lin Zhao, Shijie Xin
Background

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been proven to influence drug resistance, recurrence, and metastasis in tumors. Our study aimed to identify stemness-related prognostic biomarkers for new therapeutic strategies in adrenocortical carcinoma.

Methods

RNA-seq data and clinical characteristics were downloaded from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). The stemness indexes, mDNAsi and mRNAsi, were calculated to classify all samples into low-score and high-score groups. Two algorithms, based on the R language, ESTIMATE and single-sample Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (ssGSEA) were used to assess the immune cell infiltration states of adrenocortical carcinoma patients. Weighted Gene Co-expression Network Analysis (WGCNA) was used to find genes that were related to the stemness of cancer. By bioinformatics methods, the correlations between biomarkers capable of predicting immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) responses and stemness of cancer were explored.

Results

High-mRNAsi predicted shorter overall survival (OS) and a higher metastatic trend in adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) patients. Compared with the low-mRNAsi group, the high-mRNAsi group had a lower ImmuneScore and StromalScroe. Twenty-two stemness-related prognostic genes were obtained by WGCNA, which focused on the function of the cell cycle and cell mitosis. Immune cell infiltration, especially CD8+T cell, increased in the low-mRNAsi group compared with the high-mRNAsi group. Lower expression of PD-L1, CTLA-4, and TIGHT was evaluated in the high-mRNAsi group.

Conclusions

ACC patients with high-mRNAsi have poor prognosis and less immune cell infiltration. Combined with the finding of lower expression of CTLA-4, TIGHT, and PD-L1 in the high-mRNAsi group, we came to the conclusion that stemness index is a potential biomarker to predict the effectiveness of ICIs.

History

References