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Analysis of Interleukin-1 Signaling Alterations of Colon Adenocarcinoma Identified Implications for Immunotherapy

Xiaogang Zhou, Yu Liu, Jing Xiang, Yuntao Wang, Qiqian Wang, Jianling Xia, Yunfei Chen,
Published: 23 July 2021

Abstract: Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have made breakthrough progress in the treatment of various malignant tumors. However, only some patients receiving ICIs obtain long-lasting clinical effects, and some patients still do not achieve remission. Improving the treatment benefits of this part of the population has become a concern of clinicians. IL-1 signaling plays an important role in the tumor microenvironment (TME). However, the relationship between the IL-1 signaling mutation status and the prognosis of colon adenocarcinoma (COAD) patients receiving ICIs has not been reported. We downloaded the data of a COAD cohort receiving ICIs, including prognostic data and mutation data. Additionally, we downloaded the data of a COAD cohort from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database, including clinical data, expression data and mutation data. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) was used to assess differences in the activity of some key physiological pathways between the IL-1 signaling mutated-type (IL-1-MT) and IL-1 signaling wild-type (IL-1-WT) groups. The CIBERSORT algorithm was used to evaluate the contents of immune cells in the TME of COAD patients. The multivariate Cox regression model results suggested that IL-1-MT can be used as an independent predictor of a better prognosis in COAD patients receiving ICIs (P = 0.03, HR = 0.269, 95% CI: 0.082-0.883). Additionally, IL-1-MT COAD patients had significantly longer overall survival (OS) (log-rank P = 0.015). CIBERSORT analysis showed that the IL-1-MT group had high infiltration levels of activated dendritic cells (DCs), M1 macrophages, neutrophils, activated natural killer (NK) cells, activated CD4+ memory T cells and CD8+ T cells. Similarly, the IL-1-MT group had significantly upregulated immunogenicity, including in terms of the tumor mutation burden (TMB), neoantigen load (NAL) and number of mutations in DNA damage repair (DDR) signaling. GSEA showed that the IL-1-MT group was highly enriched in the immune response and proinflammatory mediators. Additionally, the expression levels of immune-related genes, immune checkpoint molecules and immune-related signatures were significantly higher in the IL-1-MT group than in the IL-1-WT group. IL-1-MT may be an independent predictor of a good prognosis in COAD patients receiving ICIs, with significantly longer OS in IL-1-MT COAD patients. Additionally, IL-1-MT was associated with significantly increased immunogenicity, activated immune cell and inflammatory mediator levels and immune response-related scores.
Keywords: Immune checkpoint inhibitors / Colon adenocarcinoma / Tumor Microenvironment / IL-1 / prognosis

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