Not all genomic mutations are expressed at the transcript/protein level, which may explain variation in cancer development, prognosis, and treatment response/resistance. In this study, our aim was to describe the prevalence of somatic mutation loss of expression ('variant silencing') in a large collection of human samples, and the potential impact of such variant silencing on tumor immunogenicity. Whole-exome mutation description and tumor-normal paired mRNA expression data originating from 636 unique patients diagnosed with 21 distinct tumor types (all solid tumors) were retrieved from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Antigenicity and immunogenicity of neo-peptides originating from mutated proteins within a same tumor sample were predicted using the tools available from the Immune Epitope Database (IEDB). A total of 65,072 missense mutations were studied. We demonstrated that 9.06% (N=10,604 silenced/117,505 total variants) somatic variants were silenced in human tumors. Transciptomic silencing is significantly associated with proteins presenting better peptide processing, MHC-I binding, and T-cell recognition; and is more likely observed in lymphocyte-depleted tumors. Silencing may participate in tumor resistance by clonal selection and immune evasion. In the era of precision medicine, we suggest that therapeutic choices should be informed by both the presence of a genomic mutation and its actual transcript expression.

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