The Immune Landscape of Cancer

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Abstract

We performed an extensive immunogenomic analysis of more than 10,000 tumors comprising 33 diverse cancer types by utilizing data compiled by TCGA. Across cancer types, we identified six immune subtypes—wound healing, IFN-γ dominant, inflammatory, lymphocyte depleted, immunologically quiet, and TGF-β dominant—characterized by differences in macrophage or lymphocyte signatures, Th1:Th2 cell ratio, extent of intratumoral heterogeneity, aneuploidy, extent of neoantigen load, overall cell proliferation, expression of immunomodulatory genes, and prognosis. Specific driver mutations correlated with lower (CTNNB1, NRAS, or IDH1) or higher (BRAF, TP53, or CASP8) leukocyte levels across all cancers. Multiple control modalities of the intracellular and extracellular networks (transcription, microRNAs, copy number, and epigenetic processes) were involved in tumor-immune cell interactions, both across and within immune subtypes. Our immunogenomics pipeline to characterize these heterogeneous tumors and the resulting data are intended to serve as a resource for future targeted studies to further advance the field. Thorsson et al. present immunogenomics analyses of more than 10,000 tumors, identifying six immune subtypes that encompass multiple cancer types and are hypothesized to define immune response patterns impacting prognosis. This work provides a resource for understanding tumor-immune interactions, with implications for identifying ways to advance research on immunotherapy.

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Thorsson, V., Gibbs, D. L., Brown, S. D., Wolf, D., Bortone, D. S., Ou Yang, T. H., … Shmulevich, llya. (2018). The Immune Landscape of Cancer. Immunity, 48(4), 812-830.e14. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.immuni.2018.03.023

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