International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2023 February 21 [Link]
Licun Wu, Kosuke Yoshihara, Hana Yun, Saraf Karim, Nastaran Shokri, Fatemeh Zaeimi, H S Jeffrey Man, Amin Zia, Emanuela Felley-Bosco, Marc de Perrot
Malignant mesothelioma (MESO) consists of epithelioid, biphasic, and sarcomatoid subtypes with different epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotypes. We previously identified a panel of four MESO EMT genes correlating with an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment and poor survival. In this study, we investigated the correlation between these MESO EMT genes, the immune profile, and the genomic and epigenomic alterations to identify potential therapeutic targets to prevent or reverse the EMT process. Using multiomic analysis, we observed that the MESO EMT genes were positively correlated with hypermethylation of epigenetic genes and loss of CDKN2A/B expression. MESO EMT genes such as COL5A2, ITGAV, SERPINH1, CALD1, SPARC, and ACTA2 were associated with upregulation of TGF-β signaling, hedgehog signaling, and IL-2-STAT5 signaling and downregulation of the IFN-α and IFN-γ response. Immune checkpoints such as CTLA4, CD274 (PD-L1), PDCD1LG2 (PD-L2), PDCD1 (PD-1), and TIGIT were upregulated, while LAG3, LGALS9, and VTCN1 were downregulated with the expression of MESO EMT genes. CD160, KIR2DL1, and KIR2DL3 were also broadly downregulated with the expression of MESO EMT genes. In conclusion, we observed that the expression of a panel of MESO EMT genes was associated with hypermethylation of epigenetic genes and loss of expression of CDKN2A and CDKN2B. Expression of MESO EMT genes was associated with downregulation of the type I and type II IFN response, loss of cytotoxicity and NK cell activity, and upregulation of specific immune checkpoints, as well as upregulation of the TGF-β1/TGFBR1 pathway.