Prostate cancer in young men represents a distinct clinical phenotype: gene expression signature to predict early metastases

J Transl Genet Genom. 2021;5:50-61. doi: 10.20517/jtgg.2021.01. Epub 2021 Mar 9.

Abstract

Aim: Several genomic signatures are available to predict Prostate Cancer (CaP) outcomes based on gene expression in prostate tissue. However, no signature was tailored to predict aggressive CaP in younger men. We attempted to develop a gene signature to predict the development of metastatic CaP in young men.

Methods: We measured genome-wide gene expression for 119 tumor and matched benign tissues from prostatectomies of men diagnosed at ≤ 50 years and > 70 years and identified age-related differentially expressed genes (DEGs) for tissue type and Gleason score. Age-related DEGs were selected using the improved Prediction Analysis of Microarray method (iPAM) to construct and validate a classifier to predict metastasis using gene expression data from 1,232 prostatectomies. Accuracy in predicting early metastasis was quantified by the area under the curve (AUC) of receiver operating characteristic (ROC), and abundance of immune cells in the tissue microenvironment was estimated using gene expression data.

Results: Thirty-six age-related DEGs were selected for the iPAM classifier. The AUC of five-year survival ROC for the iPAM classifier was 0.87 (95%CI: 0.78-0.94) in young (≤ 55 years), 0.82 (95%CI: 0.76-0.88) in middle-aged (56-70 years), and 0.69 (95%CI: 0.55-0.69) in old (> 70 years) patients. Metastasis-associated immune responses in the tumor microenvironment were more pronounced in young and middle-aged patients than in old ones, potentially explaining the difference in accuracy of prediction among the groups.

Conclusion: We developed a genomic classifier with high precision to predict early metastasis for younger CaP patients and identified age-related differences in immune response to metastasis development.

Keywords: Differentially expressed gene; age; clinical phenotype; immune cell enrichment; metastasis; patient stratification; prediction; prostate cancer; tissue microenvironment.