Theranostics 2021; 11(7):3089-3108. doi:10.7150/thno.53649

Research Paper

Siglec15 shapes a non-inflamed tumor microenvironment and predicts the molecular subtype in bladder cancer

Jiao Hu1, Anze Yu1,2, Belaydi Othmane1, Dongxu Qiu1, Huihuang Li1, Chao Li1, Peihua Liu1, Wenbiao Ren1, Minfeng Chen1, Guanghui Gong3, Xi Guo4, Huihui Zhang5, Jinbo Chen1,✉, Xiongbing Zu1,✉

1. Department of Urology, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, China
2. Immunobiology & Transplant Science Center, Houston Methodist Research Institute, Texas Medical Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA
3. Department of Pathology, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, China
4. Department of Urology, Hunan Provincial People's Hospital, Changsha, China
5. Department of Urology, the First Affiliated Hospital of the University of South China, Hengyang, China

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Citation:
Hu J, Yu A, Othmane B, Qiu D, Li H, Li C, Liu P, Ren W, Chen M, Gong G, Guo X, Zhang H, Chen J, Zu X. Siglec15 shapes a non-inflamed tumor microenvironment and predicts the molecular subtype in bladder cancer. Theranostics 2021; 11(7):3089-3108. doi:10.7150/thno.53649. Available from https://www.thno.org/v11p3089.htm

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Abstract

Rationale: Siglec15 is an emerging target for normalization cancer immunotherapy. However, pan-cancer anti-Siglec15 treatment is not yet validated and the potential role of Siglec15 in bladder cancer (BLCA) remains elusive.

Methods: We comprehensively evaluated the expression pattern and immunological role of Siglec15 using pan-cancer analysis based on RNA sequencing data obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas. We then systematically correlated Siglec15 with immunological characteristics in the BLCA tumor microenvironment (TME), including immunomodulators, cancer immunity cycles, tumor-infiltrating immune cells (TIICs), immune checkpoints, and T cell inflamed score. We also analyzed the role of Siglec15 in predicting the molecular subtype and the response to several treatment options in BLCA. Our results were validated in several public cohorts as well as our BLCA tumor microarray cohort, the Xiangya cohort. We developed an immune risk score (IRS), validated it, and tested its ability to predict the prognosis and response to cancer immunotherapy.

Results: We found that Siglec15 was specifically overexpressed in the TME of various cancers. We hypothesize that Siglec15 designs a non-inflamed TME in BLCA based on the evidence that Siglec15 negatively correlated with immunomodulators, TIICs, cancer immunity cycles, immune checkpoints, and T cell inflamed score. Bladder cancer with high Siglec15 expression was not sensitive to cancer immunotherapy, but exhibited a higher incidence of hyperprogression. High Siglec15 levels indicated a luminal subtype of BLCA characterized by lower immune infiltration, lower response to cancer immunotherapy and neoadjuvant chemotherapy, but higher response to anti-angiogenic therapy and targeted therapies such as blocking Siglec15, β-catenin, PPAR-γ, and FGFR3 pathways. Notably, a combination of anti-Siglec15 and cancer immunotherapy may be a more effective strategy than monotherapy. IRS can accurately predict the prognosis and response to cancer immunotherapy.

Conclusions: Anti-Siglec15 immunotherapy might be suitable for BLCA treatment as Siglec15 correlates with a non-inflamed TME in BLCA. Siglec15 could also predict the molecular subtype and the response to several treatment options.

Keywords: Siglec15, Bladder cancer, Immunotherapy, Molecular subtype, Tumor microenvironment