Background: To investigate the value of SMO and GLI1 genes in the hedgehog pathway in malignant mesothelioma specimens. Further study on the expression and prognosis of SMO and GLI1 in malignant mesothelioma tissues and the relationship between the two and the molecular mechanisms of mesothelioma immunity and to further investigate the prognostic value of mesothelioma expression.
Materials and methods: Immunohistochemistry and RT-qPCR were applied to detect the expression of SMO and GLI1 proteins and mRNA in biopsy specimens and plasma cavity effusion specimens from malignant mesothelioma (n = 130) and benign mesothelial tissues (n = 50) and to analyze the clinicopathological significance and survival risk factors of SMO and GLI1 protein expression in mesothelioma. The mechanisms of mesothelioma cell expression and immune cell infiltration were investigated using bioinformatics methods.
Results: SMO and GLI1 in mesothelioma tissues detected high concordance between the diagnostic results of mesothelioma biopsy specimens and plasma cavity effusion specimens. The expression levels of SMO and GLI1 protein and mRNA in mesothelioma tissues were higher than those in benign mesothelioma tissues. The expression levels of SMO and GLI1 protein were correlated with the age, site, and asbestos exposure history of patients with mesothelioma. The expression levels of SMO and GLI1 protein were correlated with the expressions of ki67 and p53 (P < 0.05). SMO and GLI1 gene expression levels were negatively correlated with good prognosis in mesothelioma patients (P < 0.05). Cox proportional risk model indicated that protein expressions of invasion, lymph node metastasis, distant metastasis, staging, and genes were independent prognostic factors of mesothelioma. The GEPIA database showed the overall survival rate and the disease-free survival rate of mesothelioma patients in the high SMO and GLI1 expression groups; the UALCAN database analysis showed lower SMO expression levels in mesothelioma patients with more pronounced TP53 mutations (P = 0.001); GLI1 gene expression levels were strongly correlated with lymph node metastasis in mesothelioma patients (P = 0.009). Timer database analysis showed that the mechanism of immune cell infiltration was closely related to SMO and GLI1 expression. The degree of immune cell infiltration was strongly correlated with the prognosis of mesothelioma patients (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: The expression levels of both SMO and GLI1 proteins were higher than those of normal mesothelial tissues, and the mRNA expression levels also changed in the same direction. SMO and GLI1 gene expressions in mesothelioma were negatively correlated with age, site of occurrence, and history of asbestos exposure. Positive expression of SMO and GLI1 was negatively correlated with patient survival. The Cox proportional risk model showed that gender, history of asbestos exposure, site of occurrence, SMO, and GLI1 were independent prognostic factors for mesothelioma. The mechanism of immune cell infiltration in mesothelioma is closely related to the gene expression of both and the survival prognosis of mesothelioma patients.
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