Background: WNT/βcatenin (WNTβ) pathway is activated in early stages of embryonic development. We aimed to evaluate the significance of βcatenin in germ cell tumors (GCTs) and explore associations with the inflamed environment.
Methods: Surgical specimens from 247 patients were analyzed. Βcatenin expression was detected in the tumor tissue by immunohistochemistry and correlated with clinical characteristics, outcome, PD-L1 expression and systemic immune-inflammation index (SII). The Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) was used to investigate the immune-cell related effects of βcatenin and PD-L1 encoding genes.
Results: βcatenin was expressed in 86.2% of GCTs. The expression in seminomas was significantly lower compared to all subtypes of non-seminoma (all P < 0.0001). A high expression (weighted histoscore > 150) was associated with primary mediastinal non-seminoma (P = 0.035), intermediate/poor risk disease (P = 0.033) and high tumor markers (P = 0.035). We observed a positive correlation with the PD-L1 in tumor and an inverse correlation with the SII. IPA uncovered relationships of CTNNB (βcatenin) and CD274 (PD-L1) genes and their effects on differentiation, proliferation and activation of lymphocyte subtypes.
Conclusion: Herein, we showed that βcatenin is associated with male adult GCT characteristics as well as supressed immune environment.
Keywords: PD-L1; Systemic-immune inflammation; Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes; WNTβ pathway; βcatenin.