Association of homozygous variants of STING1 with outcome in human cervical cancer

Joyce M Lubbers, Bart Koopman, Jessica M de Klerk-Sluis, Nienke van Rooij, Annechien Plat, Harry Pijper, Tim Koopman, Bettien M van Hemel, Harry Hollema, Bea Wisman, Hans W Nijman, Marco de Bruyn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

DNA-sensing receptor Cyclic GMP-AMP Synthase (cGAS) and its downstream signaling effector STimulator of INterferon Genes (STING) have gained significant interest in the field of tumor immunology, as a dysfunctional cGAS-STING pathway is associated with poor prognosis and worse response to immunotherapy. However, studies so far have not taken into account the polymorphic nature of the STING-encoding STING1 gene. We hypothesized that the presence of allelic variance in STING1 would cause variation between individuals as to their susceptibility to cancer development, cancer progression, and potential response to (immuno)therapy. To start to address this, we defined the genetic landscapes of STING1 in cervical scrapings and investigated their corresponding clinical characteristics across a unique cohort of cervical cancer patients and compared them with independent control cohorts. Although we did not observe an enrichment of particular STING1 allelic variants in cervical cancer patients, we did find that the occurrence of homozygous variants HAQ/HAQ and R232H/R232H of STING1 were associated with both younger age of diagnosis and higher recurrence rate. These findings were accompanied by worse survival, despite comparable mRNA and protein levels of STING and numbers of infiltrated CD8(+) T cells. Our findings suggest that patients with HAQ/HAQ and R232H/R232H genotypes may have a dysfunctional cGAS-STING pathway that fails to promote efficient anticancer immunity. Interestingly, the occurrence of these genotypes coincided with homozygous presence of the V48V variant, which was found to be individually associated with worse outcome. Therefore, we propose V48V to be further evaluated as a novel prognostic marker for cervical cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-71
Number of pages11
JournalCancer science
Volume112
Issue number1
Early online date10-Oct-2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2021

Keywords

  • allelic variants
  • cervical cancer
  • human papillomavirus
  • interferon signaling
  • STING
  • TMEM173
  • SQUAMOUS-CELL CARCINOMA
  • MICROENVIRONMENT
  • SUSCEPTIBILITY

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