Intratumoral immune infiltrate was recently reported in Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GIST). However, what tumor-intrinsic factors dictate GIST immunogenicity is still largely undefined. To shed light on this issue a large cohort (82 samples) of primary untreated GIST, representative of major clinicopathological variables, was investigated by an integrated immunohistochemical, transcriptomic and computational approach. Our results indicate that tumor genotype, location and malignant potential concur to shape the immunogenicity of primary naïve GIST. Immune infiltration was greater in overt GIST than in lesions with limited malignant potential (miniGIST), in KIT/PDGFRA mutated than in KIT/PDGFRA wild-type tumors and in PDGFRA versus KIT mutated GIST. Within the KIT mutated subset, a higher degree of immune colonization was detected in the intestine. Immune hot tumors showed expression patterns compatible with a potentially proficient but curbed antigen-specific immunity, hinting at sensitivity to immunomodulatory treatments. Poorly infiltrated GIST, primarily KIT/PDGFRA wild-type intestinal tumors, showed activation of Hedgehog and WNT/β-catenin immune excluding pathways. This finding discloses a potential therapeutic vulnerability, as the targeting of these pathways might prove effective by both inhibiting pro-oncogenic signals and fostering anti-tumor immune responses. Finally, an intriguing anticorrelation between immune infiltration and ANO1/DOG1 expression was observed, suggesting an immunomodulatory activity for anoctamin-1.
Daniela Gasparotto, Marta Sbaraglia, Sabrina Rossi, Davide Baldazzi, Monica Brenca, Alessia Mondello, Federica Nardi, Dominga Racanelli, Matilde Cacciatore, Angelo Paolo Dei Tos, Roberta Maestro