Background: Immune evasion in glioblastoma (GBM) shields cancer cells from cytotoxic immune response. Methods: We investigated CpG methylation in promoters, genes, and pathways in 22 pairs of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded sequential (FFPE) GBM using restricted resolution bisulfite sequencing (RRBS) and bioinformatic analyses. Results: Gene ontology revealed hypermethylation in elements of the innate and adaptive immune system when recurrent GBM samples (GBMrec
) were compared to control (CG) and primary GBM samples (GBMprim
). Higher methylation levels of the IL-7 signaling pathway and response to IL-7 were found in GBMrec
suggesting a progressive blockade of the IL-7 driven T cell response in sequential GBM. Analyses of the Cancer Genome Atlas array-based data confirmed hypermethylation of the IL-7 pathway in recurrent compared with primary GBM. We also quantified DNA CpG methylation in promoter and gene regions of the IL-7 ligand and IL-7 α-receptor subunit in individual samples of a large RRBS-based sequential cohort of GBM in a Viennese database and found significantly higher methylation levels in the IL-7 receptor α-subunit in GBMrec
compared with GBMprim
. Conclusions: This study revealed the progressive suppression of the IL-7 receptor-mediated pathway as a means of immune evasion by GBM and thereby highlighted it as a new treatment target.
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