Radiotherapy-Related Gene Signature in Prostate Cancer

Cancers (Basel). 2022 Oct 14;14(20):5032. doi: 10.3390/cancers14205032.


Radiotherapy for localized prostate cancer has increased the cure and survival rates of patients. Besides its local tumoricidal effects, ionizing radiation has been linked to mechanisms leading to systemic immune activation, a phenomenon called the abscopal effect. In this study, we performed gene expression analysis on peripheral blood from prostate cancer patients obtained post- radiotherapy and showed that 6 genes, including CCR7, FCGR2B, BTLA, CD6, CD3D, and CD3E, were down-regulated by a range of 1.5-2.5-fold as compared to pre-radiotherapy samples. The expression of the signature consisting of these six genes was also significantly lower post- vs. pre-radiotherapy. These genes are involved in various tumor-promoting immune pathways and their down-regulation post-radiotherapy could be considered beneficial for patients. This is supported by the fact that low mRNA expression levels for the 6-gene signature in the prostate tumor tissue was linked to better survival. Importantly, we report that this 6-gene signature strongly correlated with a favorable prognosis regardless of poor standard clinicopathological parameters (i.e., Gleason score ≥ 8 and T3 (including T3a and T3b). Our pioneering data open the possibility that the 6-gene signature identified herein may have a predictive value, but this requires further long-term studies.

Keywords: gene-expression; immune system; predictive biomarker; prostate cancer; radiotherapy; six-gene signature.