The analysis suggests the marker could be used to screen patients for potential immunotherapy.
Solute carrier family 25 member 13 (SLC25A13) may be a powerful prognostic biomarker in patients with skin cutaneous melanoma (SKCM), according to new research.
The study, published in Disease Markers, showed that patients with SKCM who had higher expression of SLC25A13 tended to have a poorer prognosis. Authors said the biomarker may also be useful in determining which patients are most likely to respond to immunotherapy.
SKCM is responsible for nearly three-quarters of skin carcinoma deaths, and patients who do not undergo early surgical resection face “shockingly high mortality,” explained the study’s authors, including corresponding author Chong Zhang, PhD, of Zhejiang University City College in China.
“Meanwhile, SKCM is highly heterogeneous, which makes personalized treatment difficult,” the authors said. “Immune checkpoint inhibitors, such as cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 and programmed cell death protein 1 inhibitors, are the main treatment measures for advanced-stage SKCM, but the efficacy of immunotherapy is limited due to different response rates.”
Zhang and colleagues noted that some patients are resistant to immunotherapy, but there is to date no clear way to predict whether an individual patient is likely to respond or not.
When patients do not respond to therapy, the authors noted, they can face steep odds.
“Once SKCM spreads through the dermis, it easily spreads to vital organs and lymph nodes and causes poor prognosis,” they wrote. “Therefore, it is urgent to identify biomarkers to predict the prognosis of SKMC.”
Zhang and colleagues said there were a number of reasons to suspect that SLC25A13 could be a potential biomarker. It is one of several genes that have been linked with tumor mutational burden and immune checkpoint inhibitor response in some cancers, and it appears to correlate with tumor aggressiveness and patient prognosis in colorectal cancer.
In the new study, the authors used the Cancer Genome Atlas data set to perform a wide-ranging analysis of the prognostic value of SLC25A13 in SKCM. They found that tissue samples from patients with SKCM had much higher mRNA and protein levels of SLC25A13 compared with normal tissue, and that overexpression of SLC25A13 was associated with worse outcomes. Co-expressed and interacting genes of SLC25A13 were also linked with an unfavorable prognosis, they found.
“These findings revealed that SLC25A13 is a promising and prognostic biomarker for SKCM,” the authors said.
The data suggested that SLC25A13 may be involved in SKCM progression, Zhang and colleagues said, though they said they did not find a relationship between SLC25A13 and tumor mutation load in this study.
The investigators also found that SLC25A13 expression was negatively correlated with immune cell infiltration, a finding that appears to be relevant given the role of immune checkpoint inhibitors in changing the SKCM treatment landscape. The authors concluded that their data suggest that SLC25A13 might be meaningful not only in terms of charting patient prognosis, but also in terms of evaluating treatment viability.
“Tumor immune cell infiltration can affect the sensitivity of immunotherapy, and higher immune cell infiltration scores showed a significant immune therapeutic advantage and clinical benefit,” Zhang and colleagues said. “Thus, the expression of SLC25A13 might be a potential biomarker useful for screening suitable SKCM patients for immunotherapy.”
Lv Y, Yuan C, Han L, et al. The overexpression of SLC25A13 predicts poor prognosis and is correlated with immune cell infiltration in patients with skin cutaneous melanoma. Dis Markers.. Published online May 14, 2022. doi:10.1155/2022/4091978