A Methylation-Based Reclassification of Bladder Cancer Based on Immune Cell Genes.

Bladder cancer is highly related to immune cell infiltration. This study aimed to develop a new classification of BC molecular subtypes based on immune-cell-associated CpG sites.

The genes of 28 types of immune cells were obtained from previous studies. Then, methylation sites corresponding to immune-cell-associated genes were acquired. Differentially methylated sites (DMSs) were identified between normal samples and bladder cancer samples. Unsupervised clustering analysis of differentially methylated sites was performed to divide the sites into several subtypes. Then, the potential mechanism of different subtypes was explored.

Bladder cancer patients were divided into three groups. The cluster 3 subtype had the best prognosis. Cluster 1 had the poorest prognosis. The distribution of immune cells, level of expression of checkpoints, stromal score, immune score, ESTIMATEScore, tumor purity, APC co_inhibition, APC co_stimulation, HLA, MHC class_I, Type I IFN Response, Type II IFN Response, and DNAss presented significant differences among the three subgroups. The distribution of genomic alterations was also different.

The proposed classification was accurate and stable. BC patients could be divided into three subtypes based on the immune-cell-associated CpG sites. Specific biological signaling pathways, immune mechanisms, and genomic alterations were varied among the three subgroups. High-level immune infiltration was correlated with high-level methylation. The lower RNAss was associated with higher immune infiltration. The study of the intratumoral immune microenvironment may provide a new perspective for BC therapy.

Cancers. 2020 Oct 20*** epublish ***

Qizhan Luo, Thomas-Alexander Vögeli

Department of Urology, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstrasse 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany.