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Characterization of the Immune Cell Infiltration Landscape in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma to Aid Immunotherapy


ABSTRACT: The tumor microenvironment (TME) chiefly consists of tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating immune cells admixed with the stromal component. A recent clinical trial has shown that the tumor immune cell infiltration (ICI) is correlated with the sensitivity to immunotherapy and the head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSC) prognosis. However, to date, the immune infiltrative landscape of HNSC has not yet been elucidated. Herein, we proposed two computational algorithms to unravel the ICI landscape of 1,029 HNSC patients. Three ICI patterns were defined, and the ICI scores were determined by using principal-component analysis. A high ICI score was characterized by an increased tumor mutation burden (TMB) and the immune-activating signaling pathways. Activation of transforming growth factor-? (TGF-?) and WNT signaling pathways were observed in low ICI score subtypes, indicating T cell suppression, and may be responsible for poor prognosis. Two immunotherapy cohorts confirmed patients with higher ICI scores demonstrated significant therapeutic advantages and clinical benefits. This study demonstrated that the ICI scores serve as an effective prognostic biomarker and predictive indicator for immunotherapy. Evaluating the ICI patterns of a larger cohort of samples will extend our understanding of TME, and it may provide directions to the current research investigations on immunotherapeutic strategies for HNSC. Graphical Abstract Understanding the tumor-immune microenvironment is critical for improving the efficacy of current immunotherapies. Zhang et al. comprehensively evaluated the cellular, molecular, and genetic factors associated with immune cell infiltration patterns. These have important implications for how tumors respond to immunotherapies and may guide more effective immunotherapy strategies.

SUBMITTER: Zhang X 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7522342 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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