Background: Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) has a complex immune microenvironment architecture, thus possessing challenges in its characterization and treatment. This study aimed to repurpose FDA-approved drugs for cholangiocarcinoma by transcriptomic-driven bioinformatic approach. Methods: Cox-proportional univariate regression was applied to 3017 immune-related genes known a priori to identify a list of mortality-associated genes, so-called immune-oncogenic gene signature, in CCA tumor-derived RNA-seq profiles of two independent cohorts. Unsupervised clustering stratified CCA tumors into two groups according to the immune-oncogenic gene signature expression, which then confirmed its clinical relevance by Kaplan–Meier curve. Molecularly guided drug repurposing was performed by an integrative connectivity map-prioritized drug-gene network analysis. Results: The immune-oncogenic gene signature consists of 26 mortality-associated immune-related genes. Patients with high-expression signature had a poorer overall survival (log-rank p
< 0.001), while gene enrichment analysis revealed cell-cycle checkpoint regulation and inflammatory-immune response signaling pathways affected this high-risk group. The integrative drug-gene network identified eight FDA-approved drugs as promising candidates, including Dasatinib a multi-kinase inhibitor currently investigated for advanced CCA with isocitrate-dehydrogenase mutations. Conclusion: This study proposes the use of the immune-oncogenic gene signature to identify high-risk CCA patients. Future preclinical and clinical studies are required to elucidate the therapeutic efficacy of the molecularly guided drugs as the adjunct therapy, aiming to improve the survival outcome.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited