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Concurrent upregulation of immune checkpoint molecule genes in colorectal cancer

Abstract

Background

A simultaneous gene expression pattern of immune checkpoint molecules might exist in colorectal cancer. This hypothesis has rarely been tested in human in vivo samples.

Objective

We investigated the gene expression patterns of immune checkpoint molecules in human colorectal cancer tissues using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) with a focus on concurrent gene expression.

Results

We included 14 females and 16 males with a mean age was 68.5 years. The mean number of all immune checkpoint molecules did not differ significantly between normal and tumor tissues. Histological grade 3 tumors were more common in the PDCD1-expressing group [3 (25.0%) vs. 0 (0%) (p = 0.042)]. All six and four immune checkpoint molecules were expressed in eight and three PDCD1-positive patients, respectively. Specifically, CD274 was expressed in 11 of 12 PDCD1-positive patients, while LAG3 and IDO1 were expressed simultaneously in all patients expressing CD274.

Conclusion

Colorectal cancers more commonly express multiple immune checkpoint molecules simultaneously than single molecules. This suggests that blocking multiple immune checkpoint pathways may serve as a potential strategy for immunotherapy.

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Acknowledgements

Not applicable

Funding

This study was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF 2017R1D1A3B03032301).

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

Conception: HJB; YWK. Design: HJB; KMK; YWK. Supervision: JHS; SKK; CSK; MYC; BRK; KMK; YWK. Materials: HJB; JHS; SKK; CSK; MYC; BRK; SHA; KMK; YWK. Data collection and/or processing: HJB; JHS; SKK; CSK; MYC; BRK; SHA; KMK; YWK. Analysis and/or interpretation: HJB; JHS; SKK; CSK; MYC; BRK; SHA; KMK; YWK. Literature: HJB; KMK; YWK. Writing: HJB; KMK; YWK. Critical review: HJB; JHS; SKK; CSK; MYC; BRK; SHA; KMK; YWK.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Kwangmin Kim or Youngwan Kim.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

Hui-Jae Bang declares that they have no conflicts of interest. Joon Hyung Sohn declares that they have no conflicts of interest. Soo-Ki Kim declares that they have no conflicts of interest. Cheol Su Kim declares that they have no conflicts of interest. Mee-Yon Cho declares that they have no conflicts of interest. Bora Kim declares that they have no conflicts of interest. Sanghyun An declares that they have no conflicts of interest. Kwangmin Kim declares that they have no conflicts of interest. Youngwan Kim declares that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Wonju Severance Christian Hospital (CR: 318334).

Human and animal rights

Not applicable.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was obtained from all participants.

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Bang, HJ., Sohn, J.H., Kim, SK. et al. Concurrent upregulation of immune checkpoint molecule genes in colorectal cancer. Mol. Cell. Toxicol. (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13273-022-00281-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13273-022-00281-7

Keywords

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Immune checkpoint inhibitors
  • Polymerase chain reaction