Immunotherapy is considered one of the most important therapeutic strategies for patients with lung adenocarcinoma after the development of epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor (EGFR-TKI) resistance. However, useful predictors of immunotherapy for these patients has not been examined well, although the status of the tumor immune microenvironment (TIME), including programmed death-ligand 1 expression and lymphocyte infiltration, has been generally known to provide predictive markers for the efficacy of immunotherapy. This study aimed to clarify novel predictors of immunotherapy following EGFR-TKI resistance in lung adenocarcinoma, especially regarding micro RNA (miRNA). We evaluated the correlation between EGFR-TKI resistance and lymphocyte infiltration, before and after acquiring EGFR-TKI resistance, in 21 cases of lung adenocarcinoma, and further explored this by in vitro studies, using miRNA PCR arrays. Subsequently, we transfected miRNA-1 (miR-1), the most variable miRNA in this array, into three kinds of lung cancer cells, and examined the effects of miR-1 on EGFR-TKI sensitivity, cytokine expression and lymphocyte migration. Histopathological examination demonstrated that infiltration levels of CD8-positive T cells were significantly decreased after development of EGFR-TKI resistance. In vitro studies revealed that miR-1 significantly inhibited EGFR-TKI effect and induction of cytokines, such as C-C motif chemokine ligand 5 and C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 10, causing inhibition of monocyte migration. These results indicate that the upregulated miR-1 might suppress the TIME, following development of EGFR-TKI resistance. Therefore, miR-1 could be a clinically useful marker to predict therapeutic efficacy of immunotherapy in lung adenocarcinoma patients with EGFR-TKI resistance.
- EGFR-TKI resistance
- immunotherapy predictor
- tumor immune microenvironment