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Transcriptional analysis of multiple ovarian cancer cohorts reveals prognostic and immunomodulatory consequences of ERV expression

Natoli, M; Gallon, J; Lu, H; Amgheib, A; Pinato, DJ; Mauri, FA; Marafioti, T; ... Ghaem-Maghami, S; + view all (2021) Transcriptional analysis of multiple ovarian cancer cohorts reveals prognostic and immunomodulatory consequences of ERV expression. Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer , 9 (1) , Article e001519. 10.1136/jitc-2020-001519. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) play a role in a variety of biological processes, including embryogenesis and cancer. DNA methyltransferase inhibitors (DNMTi)-induced ERV expression triggers interferon responses in ovarian cancer cells via the viral sensing machinery. Baseline expression of ERVs also occurs in cancer cells, though this process is poorly understood and previously unexplored in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Here, the prognostic and immunomodulatory consequences of baseline ERV expression was assessed in EOC. / Methods: ERV expression was assessed using EOC transcriptional data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and from an independent cohort (Hammersmith Hospital, HH), as well as from untreated or DNMTi-treated EOC cell lines. Least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) logistic regression defined an ERV expression score to predict patient prognosis. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) was conducted on the HH cohort. Combination of DNMTi treatment with γδ T cells was tested in vitro, using EOC cell lines and patient-derived tumor cells. / Results: ERV expression was found to define clinically relevant subsets of EOC patients. An ERV prognostic score was successfully generated in TCGA and validated in the independent cohort. In EOC patients from this cohort, a high ERV score was associated with better survival (log-rank p=0.0009) and correlated with infiltration of CD8+PD1+T cells (r=0.46, p=0.0001). In the TCGA dataset, a higher ERV score was found in BRCA1/2 mutant tumors, compared to wild type (p=0.015), while a lower ERV score was found in CCNE1 amplified tumors, compared to wild type (p=0.019). In vitro, baseline ERV expression dictates the level of ERV induction in response to DNMTi. Manipulation of an ERV expression threshold by DNMTi resulted in improved EOC cell killing by cytotoxic immune cells. / Conclusions: These findings uncover the potential for baseline ERV expression to robustly inform EOC patient prognosis, influence tumor immune infiltration and affect antitumor immunity.

Type: Article
Title: Transcriptional analysis of multiple ovarian cancer cohorts reveals prognostic and immunomodulatory consequences of ERV expression
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/jitc-2020-001519
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-001519
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute > Research Department of Pathology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10123487
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