Transcriptomic analysis identifies differences in gene expression in actinic keratoses after treatment with imiquimod and between responders and non responders

Megan H. Trager, Emanuelle Rizk, Sharon Rose, Kuixi Zhu, Branden Lau, Benjamin T. Fullerton, Jaya Pradhan, Michael Moore, Ayush C. Srivastava, Giselle Singer, Robyn Gartrell, Rui Chang, Larisa J. Geskin, Yvonne M. Saenger, Gary Goldenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The presence of actinic keratoses (AKs) increases a patient’s risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by greater than six-fold. We evaluated the effect of topical treatment with imiquimod on the tumor microenvironment by measuring transcriptomic differences in AKs before and after treatment with imiquimod 3.75%. Biopsies were collected prospectively from 21 patients and examined histologically. RNA was extracted and transcriptomic analyses of 788 genes were performed using the nanoString assay. Imiquimod decreased number of AKs by study endpoint at week 14 (p < 0.0001). Post-imiquimod therapy, levels of CDK1, CXCL13, IL1B, GADPH, TTK, ILF3, EWSR1, BIRC5, PLAUR, ISG20, and C1QBP were significantly lower (adjusted p < 0.05). Complete responders (CR) exhibited a distinct pattern of inflammatory gene expression pre-treatment relative to incomplete responders (IR), with alterations in 15 inflammatory pathways (p < 0.05) reflecting differential expression of 103 genes (p < 0.05). Presence of adverse effects was associated with improved treatment response. Differences in gene expression were found between pre-treatment samples in CR versus IR, suggesting that higher levels of inflammation pre-treament may play a part in regression of AKs. Further characterization of the immune micro-environment in AKs may help develop biomarkers predictive of response to topical immune modulators and may guide therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8775
JournalScientific reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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