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Exploration of prognostic and treatment markers in hepatocellular carcinoma via GPCR-related genes analysis

Published date

May 15, 2024


"Background: G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), the biggest family of signaling receptors, account for 34 % of all the drug targets approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It has been gradually recognized that GPCRs are of significance for tumorigenesis, but in-depth studies are still required to explore specific mechanisms. In this study, the role of GPCRs in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was elucidated, and GPCR-related genes were employed for building a risk-score model for the prognosis and treatment efficacy prediction of HCC patients.

Methods: Patients' data on HCC were sourced from the Liver Hepatocellular Carcinoma-Japan (LIRI-JP) and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) databases, while GPCR-related genes were obtained from the Molecular Signatures Database (MSigDB). Univariant and multivariant Cox regression analyses, as well as least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) were performed with the aim of identifying differentially expressed GPCR-related genes and grouping patients. Differential expression and functional enrichment analyses were performed; protein-protein interaction (PPI) mechanisms were explored; hub genes and micro ribonucleic acid (miRNA)-target gene regulatory networks were constructed. The tumor immune dysfunction and exclusion (TIDE) algorithm was utilized to evaluate immune infiltration levels and genetic variations. Sensitivity to immunotherapy and common antitumor drugs was predicted via the database Genomics of Drug Sensitivity in Cancer (GDSC).

Results: A GPCR-related risk score containing eight GPCR-related genes (atypical chemokine receptor 3 (ACKR3), C-C chemokine receptor type 3 (CCR3), CCR7, frizzled homolog 5 (FZD5), metabotropic glutamate receptor 8 (GRM8), hydroxycarboxylic acid receptor 1 (HCAR1), 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 5A (HTR5A) and nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor family pyrin domain containing 6 (NLRP6)) was set up. In addition, patients were classified into groups with high and low risks. Patients in the high-risk group exhibited a worse prognosis but demonstrated a more favorable immunotherapy response rate compared with those in the low-risk group. Distinct sensitivity to chemotherapeutic drugs was observed. A clinical prediction model on the basis of GPCR-related risk scores was constructed. Areas under the curves (AUC) corresponding to one-, three- and five-year survival were 0.731, 0.765 and 0.731, respectively.

Conclusions: In this study, an efficient HCC prognostic prediction model was constructed by only GPCR-related genes, which are all potential targets for HCC treatment."

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