An integrated model of acinar to ductal metaplasia-related N7-methyladenosine regulators predicts prognosis and immunotherapy in pancreatic carcinoma based on digital spatial profiling

Front Immunol. 2022 Jul 28;13:961457. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2022.961457. eCollection 2022.


Acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM) is a recently recognized, yet less well-studied, precursor lesion of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) developed in the setting of chronic pancreatitis. Through digital spatial mRNA profiling, we compared ADM and adjacent PDAC tissues from patient samples to unveil the bridging genes during the malignant transformation of pancreatitis. By comparing the bridging genes with the 7-methylguanosine (m7G)-seq dataset, we screened 19 m7G methylation genes for a subsequent large sample analysis. We constructed the "m7G score" model based on the RNA-seq data for pancreatic cancer in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database and The Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database. Tumors with a high m7G score were characterized by increased immune cell infiltration, increased genomic instability, higher response rate to combined immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), and overall poor survival. These findings indicate that the m7G score is associated with tumor invasiveness, immune cell infiltration, ICI treatment response, and overall patients' survival. We also identified FN1 and ITGB1 as core genes in the m7Gscore model, which affect immune cell infiltration and genomic instability not only in pancreatic cancer but also in pan-cancer. FN1 and ITGB1 can inhibit immune T cell activition by upregulation of macrophages and neutrophils, thereby leading to immune escape of pancreatic cancer cells and reducing the response rate of ICI treatment.

Keywords: N7-methyladenosine; acinar to ductal metaplasia; digital spatial profiling; immunotherapy; pancreatic carcinoma; prognosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal* / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal* / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal* / therapy
  • Genomic Instability
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Metaplasia
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Prognosis

Supplementary concepts

  • Pancreatic Carcinoma