Cancer-Immunity Marker RNA Expression Levels across Gynecologic Cancers: Implications for Immunotherapy

Jessica Jou, Shumei Kato, Hirotaka Miyashita, Kartheeswaran Thangathurai, Sarabjot Pabla, Paul DePietro, Mary K. Nesline, Jeffrey M. Conroy, Eitan Rubin, Ramez N. Eskander, Razelle Kurzrock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Our objective was to characterize cancer-immunity marker expression in gynecologic cancers and compare immune landscapes between gynecologic tumor subtypes and with nongynecologic solid tumors. RNA expression levels of 51 cancer-immunity markers were analyzed in patients with gynecologic cancers versus nongynecologic cancers, and normalized to a reference population of 735 control cancers, ranked from 0 to 100, and categorized as low (0–24), moderate (25–74), or high (75–100) percentile rank. Of the 72 patients studied, 43 (60%) had ovarian, 24 (33%) uterine, and 5 (7%) cervical cancer. No two immune profiles were identical according to expression rank (0–100) or rank level (low, moderate, or high). Patients with cervical cancer had significantly higher expression level ranks of immune activating, proinflammatory, tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte markers, and checkpoints than patients with uterine or ovarian cancer (P < 0.001 for all comparisons). However, there were no significant differences in immune marker expression between uterine and ovarian cancers. Tumors with PD-L1 tumor proportional score (TPS) ≥1% versus 0% had significantly higher expression levels of proinflammatory markers (58 vs. 49%, P = 0.0004). Compared to patients with nongynecologic cancers, more patients with gynecologic cancers express high levels of IDO-1 (44 vs. 13%, P < 0.001), LAG3 (35 vs. 21%, P = 0.008), and IL10 (31 vs. 15%, P = 0.002.) Patients with gynecologic cancers have complex and heterogeneous immune landscapes that are distinct from patient to patient and from other solid tumors. High levels of IDO1 and LAG3 suggest that clinical trials with IDO1 inhibitors or LAG3 inhibitors, respectively, may be warranted in gynecologic cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1352-1362
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Cancer Therapeutics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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