Transcriptomic analysis of the tumor microenvironment to guide prognosis and immunotherapies
Tumors are highly heterogeneous tissues where malignant cells are surrounded by and interact with a complex tumor microenvironment (TME), notably composed of a wide variety of immune cells, as well as vessels and fibroblasts. As the dialectical influence between tumor cells and their TME is known to be clinically crucial, we need tools that allow us to study the cellular composition of the microenvironment. In this focused research review, we report MCP-counter, a methodology based on transcriptomic markers that assesses the proportion of several immune and stromal cell populations in the TME from transcriptomic data, and we highlight how it can provide a way to decipher the complex mechanisms at play in tumors. In several malignancies, MCP-counter scores have been used to show various prognostic impacts of the TME, which we also show to be linked with the mutational burden of tumors. We also compared established molecular classifications of colorectal cancer and clear-cell renal cell carcinoma with the output of MCP-counter, and show that molecular subgroups have different TME profiles, and that these profiles are consistent within a given subgroup. Finally, we provide insights as to how knowing the TME composition may shape patient care in the near future.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00262-017-2058-z
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