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HERV-H LTR-associating protein 2 precursor (Human endogenous retrovirus-H long terminal repeat-associating protein 2)


Impaired Cytolytic Activity and Loss of Clonal Neoantigens in Elderly Patients With Lung Adenocarcinoma.

Whether the efficacy of programmed death 1 (PD-1)/programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) inhibitors declines with senescence remains controversial for lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD). Responsiveness to anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy is thought to rely on neoantigen exposure and immune elements in the tumor microenvironment. In this study, we explored the features of the tumor immune microenvironment in elderly patients with treatment-naïve LUAD. Transcriptome profiles and clinical characteristics of patients with LUAD were retrieved from The Cancer Genome Atlas as a discovery cohort. Immune cell infiltration (quantified by a single-sample gene set enrichment analysis), immunoregulatory molecule expression, and mutational patterns (from The Cancer Immunome Atlas) were compared between young and elderly patients. Immune cell infiltration was verified by immunohistochemistry using a validation cohort including 105 treatment-naïve patients with LUAD. A tissue microarray consisting of 120 LUAD patients was used in the immunohistochemistry validation. Activated CD8 T cell numbers increased slightly with age, but cytolytic molecules in T cells (granzyme B [GZMB], perforin 1 [PRF1], granzyme A [GZMA], granzyme M [GZMM], and granulysin [GNLY]) gradually declined. PD-L1 expression was not associated with age; however, a number of immunosuppressive elements beyond PD-L1 were upregulated in aging patients, including regulatory T cells and co-inhibitory molecules, for example, TIM-3, TIGIT, and HHLA2. Finally, senescence was accompanied by a loss of clonal neoantigens, which is believed to be correlated with responsiveness to immune checkpoint inhibitors. Elderly patients were characterized by increased numbers of CD8 T cells and impaired cytolytic molecule expression. The observed immune signature was also associated with a loss of clonal neoantigens and the accumulation of immunosuppressive elements. These findings show a unique immune microenvironment in senescence and support biomarker-guided candidate identification for anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapeutic strategies for elderly patients with LUAD.

MeSH Terms

  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Lung Neoplasms
  • Male


  • Clonal neoantigen
  • Immune checkpoint inhibitor
  • Programmed death ligand 1
  • Senescence
  • Tumor mutation burden