Effect of MHC Linked 7-Gene Signature on Delayed Hepatocellular Carcinoma Recurrence

Tariq F., Khan W., Ahmad W., Riaz S. K. , Khan M., Sherwani S., ...More

JOURNAL OF PERSONALIZED MEDICINE, vol.11, no.11, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 11
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/jpm11111129
  • Keywords: MHC, HCC, gene signature, HLAs, immune-modulators, HLA-G, EXPRESSION, RECEPTOR, COMPLEX, FYN


Dysregulated immune response significantly affects hepatocellular carcinoma's (HCC) prognosis. Human Leukocyte Antigens are key in devising immune responses against HCC. Here, we investigated how HLAs modulate HCC development at the transcriptomic level. RNA-seq data of 576 patients from two independent cohorts was retrieved. The clinicopathological relevance of all HLA genes was investigated using Fisher-Exact, correlation, and Kaplan-Meier and cox regression survival tests. Clustering of ~800 immune-related genes against HLAs was completed using a ward-agglomerative method. Networks were generated using 40 HLA associated unique genes and hub genes were investigated. HLAs including HLA-DMA, HLA-DMB, HLA-DOA and HLA-DRB6 were associated with delayed recurrence in both discovery (204 HCC cases) and validation (372 HCC cases) cohorts. Clustering analyses revealed 40 genes associated with these four HLAs in both cohorts. A set of seven genes (NCF4, TYROBP, LCP2, ZAP70, PTPRC, FYN and WAS) was found co-expressed at gene-gene interaction level in both cohorts. Furthermore, survival analysis revealed seven HLA-linked genes as predictors of delayed recurrence. Multivariate analysis also predicted that mean expression of 7-gene is an independent predictor of delayed recurrence in both cohorts. We conclude that the expression of 7-gene signature may lead to improved patient prognosis. Further studies are required for consideration in clinical practice.