N6-methylandenosine-related gene expression signatures for predicting the overall survival and immune responses of patients with colorectal cancer

Lili Yu, Lijuan Wang, Jing Sun, Xuan Zhou, Yeting Hu, Lidan Hu, Yazhou He, Chunqing Lin, Jie Chen, Xiaolin Xu, Malcolm G Dunlop, Evropi Theodoratou, Kefeng Ding*, Xue Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

N6-methyladenosine (m6A) modification has been demonstrated to exhibit a crucial prognostic effect on colorectal cancer (CRC). Nonetheless, potential mechanism of m6A in survival rate and immunotherapeutic response remains unknown. Here we investigated the genes associated with m6A regulators and developed a risk score for predicting the overall survival (OS) of CRC patients. RNA-seq transcriptomic profiling data of COAD/READ samples were obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database. Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO)- Cox regression analysis was conducted to identify the m6A-related gene expression signatures and the selected genes were inputted into stepwise regression to develop a prognostic risk score in TCGA, and its predictive performance of CRC survival was further validated in Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) datasets. According to our results, the risk score comprising 18 m6A-related mRNAs was significantly associated with CRC survival in both TCGA and GEO datasets. And the stratified analysis also confirmed that high-risk score acted as a poor factor in different age, sex, T stage, and tumour, node, metastasis (TNM) stages. The m6A-related prognostic score in combination with clinical characteristics yielded time-dependent area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUCs) of 0.85 (95%CI: 0.79-0.91), 0.84 (95%CI: 0.79-0.90) and 0.80 (95%CI: 0.71-0.88) for the prediction of the 1-, 3-, 5-year OS of CRC in TCGA cohort. Furthermore, mutation of oncogenes occurred more frequently in the high-risk group and the composition of immune cells in tumour microenvironment (TME) was significantly distinct between the low- and high-risk groups. The low-risk group had a lower microsatellite instability (MSI) score, T-cell exclusion score and dysfunction score, implying that low-risk patients may have a better immunotherapy response than high-risk patients. In summary, a prognostic risk score derived from m6A-related gene expression signatures could serve as a potential prognostic predictor for CRC survival and indicator for predicting immunotherapy response in CRC patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)885930
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2023


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