Insights into B-cells and GPR18 Gene Expression by CU Medicine team Improve Prediction of Survival in Multiple Cancer Types
B-cells quantity as a prediction for cancer patient survival
B-cells are a type of white blood cell that can help the body fight against foreign bodies, such as bacteria, virus, and even tumour cells. These immune cells can produce molecules called antibodies to identify any outsiders that enter the body, and activate immune responses to attack and destroy the invaders which are the potential pathogens.
Professor Vivian Wai Yan LUI, Associate Professor, School of Biomedical Sciences at CU Medicine, explained,“B-cells are like soldiers that guard the city gate. When an outsider appears at the gate, they check its identity and flag it to the General, the immune system in our bodies, in case of any danger. Then another type of immune cells, T-cells, work as weapons to attack and destroy the invader. The role of T-cells in cancer therapy has been well established in recent decades but the clinical impact of B-cells on cancer patient outcomes has been poorly defined till now.”
The bioinformatics research team led by Professor Vivian Lui, an expert in genomic medicine, has found, after studying cancer genomic and patient survival big data, that the level of B-cells in tumours is linked with the patient’s survival in seven major cancers (lower-grade glioma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, thymoma, kidney, lung, head and neck, and uterine cancers). The higher the level, the longer the survival. “This is a novel finding which provides insights into cancer prognosis”, said Professor Lui.
GPR18 gene identified as a novel genetic biomarker for cancer prognosis
Professor Lui’s team also performed a large-scale omics analysis on 29 cancer types and patient survival big data, and identified GPR18, a gene coding on the surface of a B-cell, which can help predict cancer patient survival in nine cancer types (melanoma, lower-grade glioma, sarcoma, cancers of the lung, head and neck, cervical, liver, breast, and adrenocortex).
|HPV-positive head and neck cancer patients||Overall survival period|
|with higher GPR18 expressions||68.4 months|
|with lower GPR18 expressions||57.4 months|
The research study was led by Professor LUI and first-authored by the post-doctoral fellow Dr. Yuchen LIU. The study was funded by the https://www.nature.com/articles/s42003-020-0964-7. . Study details can refer to: