Research Papers:

Immunological landscape of consensus clusters in colorectal cancer

Pawel Karpinski _, Joanna Rossowska and Maria Malgorzata Sasiadek

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:105299-105311. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.22169

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Pawel Karpinski1, Joanna Rossowska2 and Maria Malgorzata Sasiadek1

1Department of Genetics, Wroclaw Medical University, Wroclaw, Poland

2L. Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wroclaw, Poland

Correspondence to:

Pawel Karpinski, email: [email protected]

Keywords: colorectal; clusters; immunotherapy; immune modifiers

Received: June 21, 2017     Accepted: September 20, 2017     Published: October 27, 2017


Recent, large-scale expression–based subtyping has advanced our understanding of the genomic landscape of colorectal cancer (CRC) and resulted in a consensus molecular classification that enables the categorization of most CRC tumors into one of four consensus molecular subtypes (CMS). Currently, major progress in characterization of immune landscape of tumor-associated microenvironment has been made especially with respect to microsatellite status of CRCs. While these studies profoundly improved the understanding of molecular and immunological profile of CRCs heterogeneity less is known about repertoire of the tumor infiltrating immune cells of each CMS.

In order to comprehensively characterize the immune landscape of CRC we re-analyzed a total of 15 CRC genome-wide expression data sets encompassing 1597 tumors and 125 normal adjacent colon tissues. After quality filtering, CRC clusters were discovered using a combination of multiple clustering algorithms and multiple validity metrics. CIBERSORT algorithm was used to compute relative proportions of 22 human leukocyte subpopulations across CRC clusters and normal colon tissue. Subsequently, differential expression specific to tumor epithelial cells was calculated to characterize mechanisms of tumor escape from immune surveillance occurring in particular CRC clusters.

Our results not only characterize the common and cluster-specific influx of immune cells into CRCs but also identify several deregulated gene targets that may contribute to improvement of immunotherapeutic strategies in CRC.

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