Stromal-Based Signatures for the Classification of Gastric Cancer

Cancer Res. 2016 May 1;76(9):2573-86. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-0022.


Treatment of metastatic gastric cancer typically involves chemotherapy and monoclonal antibodies targeting HER2 (ERBB2) and VEGFR2 (KDR). However, reliable methods to identify patients who would benefit most from a combination of treatment modalities targeting the tumor stroma, including new immunotherapy approaches, are still lacking. Therefore, we integrated a mouse model of stromal activation and gastric cancer genomic information to identify gene expression signatures that may inform treatment strategies. We generated a mouse model in which VEGF-A is expressed via adenovirus, enabling a stromal response marked by immune infiltration and angiogenesis at the injection site, and identified distinct stromal gene expression signatures. With these data, we designed multiplexed IHC assays that were applied to human primary gastric tumors and classified each tumor to a dominant stromal phenotype representative of the vascular and immune diversity found in gastric cancer. We also refined the stromal gene signatures and explored their relation to the dominant patient phenotypes identified by recent large-scale studies of gastric cancer genomics (The Cancer Genome Atlas and Asian Cancer Research Group), revealing four distinct stromal phenotypes. Collectively, these findings suggest that a genomics-based systems approach focused on the tumor stroma can be used to discover putative predictive biomarkers of treatment response, especially to antiangiogenesis agents and immunotherapy, thus offering an opportunity to improve patient stratification. Cancer Res; 76(9); 2573-86. ©2016 AACR.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods
  • Heterografts
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / genetics
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Stomach Neoplasms / classification*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Tissue Array Analysis
  • Transcriptome / genetics*
  • Tumor Microenvironment / genetics*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A