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posted on 15.07.2021, 11:17 by Yunfei Chen, Xu Wang, Xiaofan Deng, Yu Zhang, Rui Liao, Youzan Li, Hongji Yang, Kai Chen

Immune checkpoint inhibitors(ICIs) that activate tumor-specific immune responses bring new hope for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma(HCC). However, there are still some problems, such as uncertain curative effects and low objective response rates, which limit the curative effect of immunotherapy. Therefore, it is an urgent problem to guide the use of ICIs in HCC based on molecular typing. We downloaded the The Cancer Genome Atlas-Liver hepatocellular carcinoma(TCGA-LIHC) and Mongolian-LIHC cohort. Unsupervised clustering was applied to the highly variable data regarding expression of DNA damage repair(DDR). The CIBERSORT was used to evaluate the proportions of immune cells. The connectivity map(CMap) and pRRophetic algorithms were used to predict the drug sensitivity. There were significant differences in DDR molecular subclasses in HCC(DDR1 and DDR2), and DDR1 patients had low expression of DDR-related genes, while DDR2 patients had high expression of DDR-related genes. Of the patients who received traditional treatment, DDR2 patients had significantly worse overall survival(OS) than DDR1 patients. In contrast, of the patients who received ICIs, DDR2 patients had significantly prolonged OS compared with DDR1 patients. Of the patients who received traditional treatment, patients with high DDR scores had worse OS than those with low DDR scores. However, the survival of patients with high DDR scores after receiving ICIs was significantly higher than that of patients with low DDR scores. The DDR scores of patients in the DDR2 group were significantly higher than those of patients in the DDR1 group. The tumor microenvironment(TME) of DDR2 patients was highly infiltrated by activated immune cells, immune checkpoint molecules and proinflammatory molecules and antigen presentation-related molecules. In this study, HCC patients were divided into the DDR1 and DDR2 group. Moreover, DDR status may serve as a potential biomarker to predict opposite clinical prognosis immunotherapy and non-immunotherapy in HCC.

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