Identification of Potential Antigens for Developing mRNA Vaccine for Immunologically Cold Mesothelioma

Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology 2022 July 1 [Link]

Shichao Zhang, Shuqin Li, Ya Wei, Yu Xiong, Qin Liu, Zuquan Hu, Zhu Zeng, Fuzhou Tang, Yan Ouyang


Messenger RNA vaccines are considered to be a promising strategy in cancer immunotherapy, while their application on mesothelioma is still largely uncharacterized. This study aimed to identify potential antigens in mesothelioma for anti-mesothelioma mRNA vaccine development, and further determine the immune subtypes of mesothelioma for selection of suitable candidates from an extremely heterogeneous population. Gene expression data and corresponding clinicopathological information were obtained from the TCGA and gene expression omnibus, respectively. Then, the genetic alterations were compared and visualized using cBioPortal, and differentially expressed genes and their prognostic signatures were identified by GEPIA. The relationship between tumor-infiltrating immune cells and the expression of tumor antigens was systematically evaluated by TIMER online. Finally, the immune subtypes and immune landscape of mesothelioma were separately analyzed using consensus cluster and graph learning-based dimensional reduction. A total of five potential tumor antigens correlated with prognosis and infiltration of antigen-presenting cells, including AUNIP, FANCI, LASP1, PSMD8, and XPO5 were identified. Based on the expression of immune-related genes, patients with mesothelioma were divided into two immune subtypes (IS1 and IS2). Each subtype exhibited differential molecular, cellular and clinical properties. Patients with the IS1 subtype were characterized by an immune “cold” phenotype, displaying superior survival outcomes, whereas those with the IS2 subtype were characterized by an immune “hot” and immunosuppressive phenotype. Furthermore, immune checkpoints and immunogenic cell death modulators were differentially expressed between the IS1 and IS2 immune subtype tumors. The immunogenomic landscape of mesothelioma revealed a complex tumor immune microenvironment between individual patients. AUNIP, FANCI, LASP1, PSMD8, and XPO5 are putative antigens for the development of anti-mesothelioma mRNA vaccine and patients with the IS1 subtype may be considered for vaccination.