Transcriptomic Analyses Reveal Three Distinct Molecular Subgroups of Merkel Cell Carcinoma with Differing Prognoses

Tutkimustuotos: ArtikkelijulkaisuArtikkeliTieteellinenvertaisarvioitu


Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a cutaneous neuroendocrine malignancy with a poor prognosis and an unknown cell of origin. Proffered cells of origin include epithelial stem cells of the hair follicle or interfollicular epidermis, dermal stem cells and pro/pre- or pre-B cells. MCC has also been proposed to have more than one cell of origin and indeed to represent more than one type of carcinoma, currently grouped together due to phenotypic similarities. We explored the heterogeneous nature of MCC by studying the most variably expressed genes with the goal of identifying gene expression patterns that are either clinically relevant or have implications regarding the cell(s) of origin. We performed RNA sequencing on primary tumor samples from 102 patients and identified the top 200 most variably expressed genes. These genes and the tumor samples were hierarchically clustered based on their expression. The functions of three gene clusters exhibiting clearly divergent expression between samples were studied by cross-referencing the lists of genes with online databases. High expression of a gene cluster related to embryonic developmental processes and low expression of a gene cluster related to neuroendocrine processes distinguished Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV)-negative tumors from MCPyV-positive tumors. Furthermore, two prognostically relevant subgroups of MCPyV-positive MCC were identified based on dichotomic expression of genes related to epidermal structures and processes. We identified three distinct molecular subgroups of MCC with prognostic relevance. We propose that the dichotomic expression of epidermis-related genes might reflect both an epidermal and a nonepidermal origin for MCPyV-positive MCC.
LehtiInternational Journal of Cancer
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - 15 toukok. 2023
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä, vertaisarvioitu


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