Recognition of immune-related tumor antigens and immune subtypes for mRNA vaccine development in lung adenocarcinoma

Comput Struct Biotechnol J. 2022 Sep 5;20:5001-5013. doi: 10.1016/j.csbj.2022.08.066. eCollection 2022.


Background: There are currently no treatments targeting the immune microenvironment (TME) as an extension of immunotherapy. Our research aims to provide guidance for the development of immune-related mRNA vaccines and the identification of immune subtypes for vaccine treatment in lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD).

Methods: HTRNA-Seq and single cell RNA-seq data were obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and Gene-Expression Omnibus (GEO, GSE87340, GSE140343, GSE148071) databases. Immune checkpoints (ICP) were used as criteria to differentiate immune subtypes and immune resistance score (IRS) system is constructed by ssGSEA to judge the immune microenvironment status of patients.

Results: Two overexpressed tumor-specific antigens, including ZC3H12D and TXNDC5, were found to be associated with both disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS). In addition, the expression of two genes correlated with antigen-presenting cell (APC) infiltration and tumor purity. Subsequently, the immune subtype of the patient was defined by constructing an IRS scoring system. The lower the IRS, the stronger the immune response in the TME. This result was verified in external datasets and at the single-cell level.

Conclusions: ZC3H12D and TXNDC5 are potential tumor-specific antigens for developing mRNA vaccines in LUAD. Importantly, patients with low IRS are more suitable for the use of immunotherapy and vaccines. Our research enhances understanding of TME features and guides more effective immunotherapy strategies.

Keywords: Immune microenvironment; Lung adenocarcinoma; mRNA vaccines.