Integrated Multi-omics Analysis of Early Lung Adenocarcinoma Links Tumor Biological Features with Predicted Indolence or Aggressiveness

Cancer Res Commun. 2023 Jul 26;3(7):1350-1365. doi: 10.1158/2767-9764.CRC-22-0373. eCollection 2023 Jul.


Lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) is a heterogeneous group of tumors associated with different survival rates, even when detected at an early stage. Here, we aim to investigate the biological determinants of early LUAD indolence or aggressiveness using radiomics as a surrogate of behavior. We present a set of 92 patients with LUAD with data collected across different methodologies. Patients were risk-stratified using the CT-based Score Indicative of Lung cancer Aggression (SILA) tool (0 = least aggressive, 1 = most aggressive). We grouped the patients as indolent (x ≤ 0.4, n = 14), intermediate (0.4 > x ≤ 0.6, n = 27), and aggressive (0.6 > x ≤ 1, n = 52). Using Cytometry by time of flight (CyTOF), we identified subpopulations with high HLA-DR expression that were associated with indolent behavior. In the RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) dataset, pathways related to immune response were associated with indolent behavior, while pathways associated with cell cycle and proliferation were associated with aggressive behavior. We extracted quantitative radiomics features from the CT scans of the patients. Integrating these datasets, we identified four feature signatures and four patient clusters that were associated with survival. Using single-cell RNA-seq, we found that indolent tumors had significantly more T cells and less B cells than aggressive tumors, and that the latter had a higher abundance of regulatory T cells and Th cells. In conclusion, we were able to uncover a correspondence between radiomics and tumor biology, which could improve the discrimination between indolent and aggressive LUAD tumors, enhance our knowledge in the biology of these tumors, and offer novel and personalized avenues for intervention.

Significance: This study provides a comprehensive profiling of LUAD indolence and aggressiveness at the biological bulk and single-cell levels, as well as at the clinical and radiomics levels. This hypothesis generating study uncovers several potential future research avenues. It also highlights the importance and power of data integration to improve our systemic understanding of LUAD and to help reduce the gap between basic science research and clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung* / diagnostic imaging
  • Adenocarcinoma* / genetics
  • Aggression
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Multiomics