Global gene expression profiling reveals a suppressed immune response pathway associated with 3q amplification in squamous carcinoma of the lung.


Chromosome 3q26-28 is a critical region of genomic amplification in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), particularly lung squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). No molecular therapeutic target has shown clinical utility for SCC, in contrast with adenocarcinomas of the lung. To identify novel candidate drivers in this region, we performed both Array Comparative Genomic Hybridization (array CGH, Agilent Human Genome CGH 244A oligo-microarrays) and Gene Expression Microarray (Agilent Human Gene Expression 4 × 44 K microarray) on 24 untreated lung SCC specimens. Using our previously published integrative genomics approach, we identified 12 top amplified driver genes within this region that are highly correlated and overexpressed in lung SCC. We further demonstrated one of the 12 top amplified driver Fragile X mental retardation-related protein 1 (FXR1) as a novel cancer gene in NSCLC and FXR1 executes its regulatory function by forming a novel complex with two other oncogenes, protein kinase C, iota ( PRKCI) and epithelial cell transforming 2 (ECT2) within the same amplicon in lung cancer cell. Here we report that immune response pathways are significantly suppressed in lung SCC and negatively associated with 3q driver gene expression, implying a potential role of 3q drivers in cancer immune-surveillance. In light of the attractive immunotherapy strategy using blockade of negative regulators of T cell function for multiple human cancer including lung SCC, our findings may provide a rationale for targeting 3q drivers in combination of immunotherapies for human tumors harboring the 3q amplicon. The data have been deposited in NCBI's Gene Expression Omnibus and are accessible through GEO Series accession number GSE40089.