BACKGROUND & AIMS: Agents that induce an immune response against tumors by altering T-cell regulation have increased survival times of patients with advanced-stage tumors, such as melanoma or lung cancer. We aimed to characterize molecular features of immune cells that infiltrate hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) to determine whether these types of agents might be effective against liver tumors. METHODS: We analyzed HCC samples from 956 patients. We separated gene expression profiles from tumor, stromal, and immune cells using a non-negative matrix factorization algorithm. We then analyzed the gene expression pattern of inflammatory cells in HCC tumor samples. We correlated expression patterns with the presence of immune cell infiltrates and immune regulatory molecules, determined by pathology and immunohistochemical analyses, in a training set of 228 HCC samples. We validated the correlation in a validation set of 728 tumor samples. Using data from 190 tumors in the Cancer Genome Atlas, we correlated immune cell gene expression profiles with numbers of chromosomal aberrations (based on single-nucleotide polymorphism array) and mutations (exome sequence data). RESULTS: We found approximately 25% of HCCs to have markers of an inflammatory response, with high expression levels of the CD274 molecule (programmed death-ligand 1) and programmed cell death 1, markers of cytolytic activity, and fewer chromosomal aberrations. We called this group of tumors the Immune class. It contained 2 subtypes, characterized by markers of an adaptive T-cell response or exhausted immune response. The exhausted immune response subclass expressed many genes regulated by transforming growth factor beta 1 that mediate immunosuppression. We did not observe any differences in numbers of mutations or expression of tumor antigens between the immune-specific class and other HCCs. CONCLUSIONS: In an analysis of HCC samples from 956 patients, we found almost 25% to express markers of an inflammatory response. We identified 2 subclasses, characterized by adaptive or exhausted immune responses. These findings indicate that some HCCs might be susceptible to therapeutic agents designed to block the regulatory pathways in T cells, such as programmed death-ligand 1, programmed cell death 1, or transforming growth factor beta 1 inhibitors.

Identification of an Immune-specific Class of Hepatocellular Carcinoma, Based on Molecular Features / D. Sia, Y. Jiao, I. Martinez Quetglas, O. Kuchuk, C. Villacorta Martin, M. Castro de Moura, J. Putra, G. Camprecios, L. Bassaganyas, N. Akers, B. Losic, S. Waxman, S.N. Thung, V. Mazzaferro, M. Esteller, S.L. Friedman, M. Schwartz, A. Villanueva, J.M. Llovet. - In: GASTROENTEROLOGY. - ISSN 0016-5085. - 153:3(2017 Sep), pp. 812-826. [10.1053/j.gastro.2017.06.007]

Identification of an Immune-specific Class of Hepatocellular Carcinoma, Based on Molecular Features

D. Sia
Primo
;
V. Mazzaferro;
2017

Abstract

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Agents that induce an immune response against tumors by altering T-cell regulation have increased survival times of patients with advanced-stage tumors, such as melanoma or lung cancer. We aimed to characterize molecular features of immune cells that infiltrate hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) to determine whether these types of agents might be effective against liver tumors. METHODS: We analyzed HCC samples from 956 patients. We separated gene expression profiles from tumor, stromal, and immune cells using a non-negative matrix factorization algorithm. We then analyzed the gene expression pattern of inflammatory cells in HCC tumor samples. We correlated expression patterns with the presence of immune cell infiltrates and immune regulatory molecules, determined by pathology and immunohistochemical analyses, in a training set of 228 HCC samples. We validated the correlation in a validation set of 728 tumor samples. Using data from 190 tumors in the Cancer Genome Atlas, we correlated immune cell gene expression profiles with numbers of chromosomal aberrations (based on single-nucleotide polymorphism array) and mutations (exome sequence data). RESULTS: We found approximately 25% of HCCs to have markers of an inflammatory response, with high expression levels of the CD274 molecule (programmed death-ligand 1) and programmed cell death 1, markers of cytolytic activity, and fewer chromosomal aberrations. We called this group of tumors the Immune class. It contained 2 subtypes, characterized by markers of an adaptive T-cell response or exhausted immune response. The exhausted immune response subclass expressed many genes regulated by transforming growth factor beta 1 that mediate immunosuppression. We did not observe any differences in numbers of mutations or expression of tumor antigens between the immune-specific class and other HCCs. CONCLUSIONS: In an analysis of HCC samples from 956 patients, we found almost 25% to express markers of an inflammatory response. We identified 2 subclasses, characterized by adaptive or exhausted immune responses. These findings indicate that some HCCs might be susceptible to therapeutic agents designed to block the regulatory pathways in T cells, such as programmed death-ligand 1, programmed cell death 1, or transforming growth factor beta 1 inhibitors.
immune checkpoint; immune regulation; molecular subgroups; virtual microdissection
Settore MED/18 - Chirurgia Generale
Article (author)
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
1-s2.0-S0016508517357414-main.pdf

accesso riservato

Tipologia: Publisher's version/PDF
Dimensione 4.33 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
4.33 MB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia
Pubblicazioni consigliate

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/518760
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 283
  • Scopus 447
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 447
social impact