CXCR3 is a chemokine receptor with two well-characterized isoforms that have unique, context-dependent roles: CXCR3-A and CXCR3-B, which are produced through alternative 3' splice site selection (A3SS). RNA-seq data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) were used to correlate CXCR3 expression with breast cancer progression. This analysis revealed significant CXCR3 expression patterns associated with survival and differential expression between the tumor and adjacent normal tissue. TCGA data were used to estimate abundance of immune cells in breast cancer, which demonstrated the association of CXCR3 with immune infiltration, particularly in the triple-negative subtype. Given the importance of A3SS in CXCR3, genome-wide analysis of A3SS events was performed to identify events that were differentially spliced between breast cancer tissue and adjacent normal tissue. A total of 481 splicing events in 424 genes were found to be differentially spliced. The parent genes of differentially spliced events were enriched in RNA processing and splicing functions, indicating an underappreciated role of A3SS in the integrated splicing network of breast cancer. These results further validated the role of CXCR3 in immune infiltration of tumors, while raising questions about the role of A3SS splicing.
Keywords: CXCR3; TCGA; alternative 3′ splice site selection; breast tumor immune infiltration.