Endoscopic ultrasound may be used to deliver gene expression signatures using digital mRNA detection methods to immunophenotype pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma to facilitate personalized immunotherapy: Gene Expression Signatures by EUS FNB to Aid Immunotherapy Selection

Ferga C. Gleeson, Michael J. Levy, Rory A. Jackson, Stephen J. Murphy, Kevin C. Halling, Benjamin R. Kipp, Rondell P. Graham, Lizhi Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background & objectives: Biomarkers are increasingly required to molecularly characterize pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) subgroup populations, to determine who may benefit from immune based targeted therapy. We evaluated the feasibility of gene expression signature detection and the respective landscape of specific tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), cancer/testis (CT) antigens, and immune checkpoints for possible future personalized immunotherapy eligibility. Methods: Dedicated digital mRNA oncologic immune profiling of 770 genes using a Nanostring nCounter® PanCancer Immune Profiling Panel was performed using archived endoscopic ultrasound fine needle biopsy (EUS FNB) PDAC specimens as a case series in a tertiary care setting. Results: The spectrum of mRNA gene expression within the tumor specimens revealed that 44.8%, 10.0% and 50.7% of evaluated genes had a ≥ 2-fold increase, a ≤ 2-fold reduction or between <2 and >2 change of mRNA expression, when compared to normal controls. The corresponding landscape of TILs, CT antigens, and immune checkpoints highlighted several possibilities that could potentially be amenable to targeted personalized immunotherapy. This includes members of the Tumor Associated Macrophage family (CD68, CXCL5, and MARCO), members of the CT antigen family (PRAME, TTK and PBK) and the “second generation” checkpoints TIM3 and BTLA. Conclusions: Our study represents the ability to successfully perform digital mRNA expression profile analyses to immunophenotype PDAC EUS FNB specimens by evaluating the expression of >730 genes within the tumor immune microenvironment. This may facilitate the search for novel therapeutic targets, offering the opportunity to go beyond immune monotherapy, but perhaps to use combined immunomodulatory agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-238
Number of pages10
JournalPancreatology
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2020

Keywords

  • CT antigens
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Immune checkpoints
  • Immune profiling
  • Immunotherapy targets
  • Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
  • Tumor immune microenvironment
  • Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology

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