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Distinct genomic features across cytolytic subgroups in skin melanoma

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posted on 2022-11-22, 21:11 authored by Constantinos Roufas, Ilias Georgakopoulos-Soares, Apostolos Zaravinos

Background

Skin melanoma is a highly immunogenic cancer. The intratumoral immune cytolytic activity (CYT) reflects the ability of cytotoxic T and NK cells to eliminate cancer cells, and is associated with improved patient survival. Despite the enthusiastic clinical results seen in advanced-stage metastatic melanoma patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors, a subgroup of them will later relapse and develop acquired resistance. We questioned whether CYT associates with different genomic profiles and thus, patient outcome, in skin melanoma.

Methods

We explored the TCGA-SKCM dataset and stratified patients to distinct subgroups of cytolytic activity. The tumor immune contexture, somatic mutations and recurrent copy number aberrations were calculated using quanTIseq, MutSigCV and GISTIC2. Chromothriptic events were explored using CTLPScanner and cancer neoepitopes were predicted with antigen garnish. Each tumor's immunophenoscore was calculated using Immunophenogram. Mutational signatures and kataegis were explored using SigProfiler and compared to the known single or doublet base substitution signatures from COSMIC.

Results

Metastatic skin melanomas had significantly higher CYT levels compared to primary tumors. We assessed enrichment for immune-related gene sets within CYT-high tumors, whereas, CYT-low tumors were enriched for non-immune related gene sets. In addition, distinct mutational and neoantigen loads, primarily composed of C > T transitions, along with specific types of copy number aberrations, characterized each cytolytic subgroup. We found a broader pattern of chromothripsis across CYT-low tumors, where chromosomal regions harboring chromothriptic events, contained a higher number of cancer genes. SBS7a/b, SBS5 and SBS1 were the most prevalent mutational signatures across both cytolytic subgroups, but SBS1 differed significantly between them. SBS7a/b was mutually exclusive with SBS5 and SBS1 in both CYT subgroups. CYT-high patients had markedly higher immunophenoscore, suggesting that they should display a clinical benefit upon treatment with immune checkpoint inhibition therapy, compared to CYT-low patients.

Conclusions

Overall, our data highlight the existence of distinct genomic features across cytolytic subgroups in skin melanoma, which might affect the patients' relapse rate or their acquisition of resistance to immune checkpoint inhibition therapies.

Other Information

Published in: Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
See article on publisher's website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-021-02918-3

History

Language

  • English

Publisher

Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication Year

  • 2021

Institution affiliated with

  • Qatar University

Methodology

We explored the TCGA-SKCM dataset and stratified patients to distinct subgroups of cytolytic activity. The tumor immune contexture, somatic mutations and recurrent copy number aberrations were calculated using quanTIseq, MutSigCV and GISTIC2. Chromothriptic events were explored using CTLPScanner and cancer neoepitopes were predicted with antigen garnish. Each tumor's immunophenoscore was calculated using Immunophenogram. Mutational signatures and kataegis were explored using SigProfiler and compared to the known single or doublet base substitution signatures from COSMIC.

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