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posted on 20.05.2021, 06:17 authored by Xiaoming Huang, Fenglin Zhang, Dong He, Xiaoshuai Ji, Jiajia Gao, Wenqing Liu, Yunda Wang, Qian Liu, Tao Xin

Glioma is one of the highly fatal primary tumors in the central nervous system. As a major component of tumor microenvironment (TME), immune cell has been proved to play a critical role in the progression and prognosis of the diffuse lower-grade gliomas (LGGs). This study aims to screen the key immune-related factors of LGGs by investigating the TCGA database.


The RNA-sequencing data of 508 LGG patients were downloaded in the TCGA database. ESTIMATE algorithm was utilized to calculate the stromal, immune, and ESTIMATE scores, based on which, the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were analyzed by using “limma” package. Cox regression analysis and the cytoHubba plugin of Cytoscape software were subsequently applied to screen the survival-related genes and hub genes, the intersection of which led to the identification of SERPINE1 that played key roles in the LGGs. The expression patterns, clinical features, and regulatory mechanisms of SERPINE1 in the LGGs were further analyzed by data mining of the TCGA database. What’s more, the above analyses of SERPINE1 were further validated in the LGG cohort from the CGGA database.


We found that stromal and immune cell infiltrations were strongly related to the prognosis and malignancy of the LGGs. A total of 54 survival-related genes and 46 hub genes were screened out in the DEGs, within which SERPINE1 was identified to be significantly overexpressed in the LGG samples compared with the normal tissues. Moreover, the upregulation of SERPINE1 was more pronounced in the gliomas of WHO grade III and IDH wild type, and its expression was correlated with poor prognosis in the LGG patients. The independent prognostic value of SERPINE1 in the LGG patients was also confirmed by Cox regression analysis. In terms of the functions of SERPINE1, the results of enrichment analysis indicated that SERPINE1 was mainly enriched in the immune‐related biological processes and signaling pathways. Furthermore, it was closely associated with infiltrations of immune cells in the LGG microenvironment and acted synergistically with PD1, PD-L1, PD-L2.


These findings proved that SERPINE1 could serve as a prognostic biomarker and potential immunotherapy target of LGGs.