Serine and glycine metabolism-related gene expression signature stratifies immune profiles of brain gliomas, and predicts prognosis and responses to immunotherapy
Glioma is one of the most lethal cancers and causes more than 200,000 deaths every year. Immunotherapy was an inspiring therapy for multiple cancers but failed in glioma treatment. The importance of serine and glycine and their metabolism has been well-recognized in the physiology of immune cells and microenvironment in multiple cancers. However, their correlation with prognosis, immune cells, and immune microenvironment of glioma remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the relationships between the expression pattern of serine and glycine metabolism-related genes (SGMGs) and clinicopathological features, prognosis, and tumor microenvironment in glioma based on comprehensive analyses of multiple public datasets and our cohort. According to the expression of SGMGs, we conducted the consensus clustering analysis to stratify all patients into four clusters with remarkably distinctive clinicopathological features, prognosis, immune cell infiltration, and immune microenvironment. Subsequently, a serine and glycine metabolism-related genes signature (SGMRS) was constructed based on five critical SGMGs in glioma to stratify patients into SGMRS high- and low-risk groups and tested for its prognostic value. Higher SGMRS expressed genes associated with the synthesis of serine and glycine at higher levels and manifested poorer prognosis. Besides, we confirmed that SGMRS was an independent prognostic factor and constructed nomograms with satisfactory prognosis prediction performance based on SGMRS and other factors. Analyzing the relationship between SGMRS and immune landscape, we found that higher SGMRS correlated with ‘hotter’ immunological phenotype and more immune cell infiltration. Furthermore, the expression levels of multiple immunotherapy-related targets, including PD-1, PD-L1, and B7-H3, were positively correlated with SGMRS, which was validated by the better predicted response to immune checkpoint inhibitors. In conclusion, our study explored the relationships between the expression pattern of SGMGs and tumor features and created novel models to predict the prognosis of glioma patients. The correlation of SGMRS with immune cells and microenvironment in gliomas suggested an essential role of serine and glycine metabolism in reforming immune cells and microenvironment. Finally, the results of our study endorsed the potential application of SGMRS to guide the selection of immunotherapy for gliomas.