1. Lung Cancer Center, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.
2. Department of Thoracic Surgery, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.
3. Tianjin Key Laboratory of Lung Cancer Metastasis and Tumor Microenvironment, Tianjin Lung Cancer Institute, Tianjin Medical University General Hospital, Tianjin, China.
4. Department of Thoracic Surgery, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University (Yunnan Cancer Hospital, Yunnan Cancer Center), Kunming, China.
* These authors have contributed equally to this work
Background: The tumor microenvironment evidently affects treatment response and clinical outcome. This study aims to construct a tumor microenvironment-based crosstalk between immunotherapy and epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor (EGFR-TKI) in lung adenocarcinoma.
Methods: We used ESTIMATE algorithm to calculate stromal and immune scores. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were extracted based on the comprehensive analysis of immune score groups and EGFR-TKI resistance samples. The independent prognostic value of the five selected genes was assessed by univariate/multivariate Cox regression analysis, survival analysis and the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve. Correlation analysis was performed using Spearman's rho value through TIMER 2.0.
Results: The Kaplan-Meier survival curve show that patients with higher immune scores have significantly better overall survival. We identified 1328 DEGs from immune score groups and 806 DEGs from the EGFR-TKI resistance cohort GSE123066. A total of 19 co-regulated genes were found, and the Cox regression model produced a significant statistical prognosis for five genes (CENPF, CYSLTR1, GLDN, PIGR and SCGB3A1). Multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that the selected five gene signatures could be used as independent prognostic indicators. Furthermore, GSEA and correlation analysis demonstrated that CENPF was positively correlated to the signalling pathway which related to EGFR-TKI resistance and the well-known bypass gene.
Conclusion: Our findings indicate that CENPF, CYSLTR1, GLDN, PIGR and SCGB3A1 are independent prognostic biomarkers associated with acquired EGFR-TKI resistance and tumor immune cell infiltration in lung adenocarcinoma, and CENPF may be a potential target that can improve immunotherapy efficacy and overcome the acquired EGFR-TKI resistance.
Keywords: lung adenocarcinoma, tumor environment, immune cell infiltration, immunotherapy, EGFR-TKI resistance