The relationship of immune cell signatures to patient survival varies within and between tumor types

Peter S. Linsley, Damien J. Chaussabel, Cate Speake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


Enhancing pre-existing anti-tumor immunity leads to therapeutic benefit for some patients, but why some tumors are more immunogenic than others remains unresolved. We took a unique systems approach to relate patient survival to immune gene expression in >3,500 tumor RNAseq profiles from a dozen tumor types. We found significant links between immune gene expression and patient survival in 8/12 tumor types, with tumors partitioned by gene expression comprising distinct molecular subtypes. T/NK cell genes were most clearly survival-related for melanoma, head and neck, and bladder tumors, whereas myeloid cell genes were most clearly survival-related with kidney and breast tumors. T/NK or myeloid cell gene expression was linked to poor prognosis in bladder and kidney tumors, respectively, suggesting tumor-specific immunosuppressive checkpoints. Our results suggest new biomarkers for existing cancer immunotherapies and identify targets for new immunotherapies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0138726
JournalPLoS One
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 23 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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