Immune landscape, evolution, hypoxia-mediated viral mimicry pathways and therapeutic potential in molecular subtypes of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours.
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<h4>Objective</h4>A comprehensive analysis of the immune landscape of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (PanNETs) was performed according to clinicopathological parameters and previously defined molecular subtypes to identify potential therapeutic vulnerabilities in this disease.<h4>Design</h4>Differential expression analysis of 600 immune-related genes was performed on 207 PanNET samples, comprising a training cohort (n=72) and two validation cohorts (n=135) from multiple transcriptome profiling platforms. Different immune-related and subtype-related phenotypes, cell types and pathways were investigated using different in silico methods and were further validated using spatial multiplex immunofluorescence.<h4>Results</h4>The study identified an immune signature of 132 genes segregating PanNETs (n=207) according to four previously defined molecular subtypes: metastasis-like primary (MLP)-1 and MLP-2, insulinoma-like and intermediate. The MLP-1 subtype (26%-31% samples across three cohorts) was strongly associated with elevated levels of immune-related genes, poor prognosis and a cascade of tumour evolutionary events: larger hypoxic and necroptotic tumours leading to increased damage-associated molecular patterns (viral mimicry), stimulator of interferon gene pathway, T cell-inflamed genes, immune checkpoint targets, and T cell-mediated and M1 macrophage-mediated immune escape mechanisms. Multiplex spatial profiling validated significantly increased macrophages in the MLP-1 subtype.<h4>Conclusion</h4>This study provides novel data on the immune microenvironment of PanNETs and identifies MLP-1 subtype as an immune-high phenotype featuring a broad and robust activation of immune-related genes. This study, with further refinement, paves the way for future precision immunotherapy studies in PanNETs to potentially select a subset of MLP-1 patients who may be more likely to respond.
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Medicine (RMH Smith Cunningham)
Systems and Precision Cancer Medicine
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