Selection of RNA-based evaluation methods for tumor microenvironment by comparing with histochemical and flow cytometric analyses in gastric cancer

Sci Rep. 2022 May 20;12(1):8576. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-12610-w.


Understanding the tumor microenvironment (TME) and anti-tumor immune responses in gastric cancer are required for precision immune-oncology. Taking advantage of next-generation sequencing technology, the feasibility and reliability of transcriptome-based TME analysis were investigated. TME of 30 surgically resected gastric cancer tissues was analyzed by RNA-Seq, immunohistochemistry (IHC) and flow cytometry (FCM). RNA-Seq of bulk gastric cancer tissues was computationally analyzed to evaluate TME. Computationally analyzed immune cell composition was validated by comparison with cell densities established by IHC and FCM from the same tumor tissue. Immune cell infiltration and cellular function were also validated with IHC and FCM. Cell proliferation and cell death in the tumor as assessed by RNA-Seq and IHC were compared. Computational tools and gene set analysis for quantifying CD8+ T cells, regulatory T cells and B cells, T cell infiltration and functional status, and cell proliferation and cell death status yielded an excellent correlation with IHC and FCM data. Using these validated transcriptome-based analyses, the immunological status of gastric cancer could be classified into immune-rich and immune-poor subtypes. Transcriptome-based TME analysis is feasible and is valuable for further understanding the immunological status of gastric cancer.

MeSH terms

  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • RNA / genetics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stomach Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Tumor Microenvironment* / genetics


  • RNA