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      Transcriptional characterization of conjunctival melanoma identifies the cellular tumor microenvironment and prognostic gene signatures

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          Abstract

          This study characterizes the transcriptome and the cellular tumor microenvironment (TME) of conjunctival melanoma (CM) and identifies prognostically relevant biomarkers. 12 formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded CM were analyzed by MACE RNA sequencing, including six cases each with good or poor clinical outcome, the latter being defined by local recurrence and/or systemic metastases. Eight healthy conjunctival specimens served as controls. The TME of CM, as determined by bioinformatic cell type enrichment analysis, was characterized by the enrichment of melanocytes, pericytes and especially various immune cell types, such as plasmacytoid dendritic cells, natural killer T cells, B cells and mast cells. Differentially expressed genes between CM and control were mainly involved in inhibition of apoptosis, proteolysis and response to growth factors. POU3F3, BIRC5 and 7 were among the top expressed genes associated with inhibition of apoptosis. 20 genes, among them CENPK, INHA, USP33, CASP3, SNORA73B, AAR2, SNRNP48 and GPN1, were identified as prognostically relevant factors reaching high classification accuracy (area under the curve: 1.0). The present study provides new insights into the TME and the transcriptional profile of CM and additionally identifies new prognostic biomarkers. These results add new diagnostic tools and may lead to new options of targeted therapy for CM.

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          Comprehensive evaluation of transcriptome-based cell-type quantification methods for immuno-oncology

          Abstract Motivation The composition and density of immune cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME) profoundly influence tumor progression and success of anti-cancer therapies. Flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry staining or single-cell sequencing are often unavailable such that we rely on computational methods to estimate the immune-cell composition from bulk RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) data. Various methods have been proposed recently, yet their capabilities and limitations have not been evaluated systematically. A general guideline leading the research community through cell type deconvolution is missing. Results We developed a systematic approach for benchmarking such computational methods and assessed the accuracy of tools at estimating nine different immune- and stromal cells from bulk RNA-seq samples. We used a single-cell RNA-seq dataset of ∼11 000 cells from the TME to simulate bulk samples of known cell type proportions, and validated the results using independent, publicly available gold-standard estimates. This allowed us to analyze and condense the results of more than a hundred thousand predictions to provide an exhaustive evaluation across seven computational methods over nine cell types and ∼1800 samples from five simulated and real-world datasets. We demonstrate that computational deconvolution performs at high accuracy for well-defined cell-type signatures and propose how fuzzy cell-type signatures can be improved. We suggest that future efforts should be dedicated to refining cell population definitions and finding reliable signatures. Availability and implementation A snakemake pipeline to reproduce the benchmark is available at https://github.com/grst/immune_deconvolution_benchmark. An R package allows the community to perform integrated deconvolution using different methods (https://grst.github.io/immunedeconv). Supplementary information Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
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            Alternative-splicing defects in cancer: Splicing regulators and their downstream targets, guiding the way to novel cancer therapeutics.

            Defects in alternative splicing are frequently found in human tumors and result either from mutations in splicing-regulatory elements of specific cancer genes or from changes in the regulatory splicing machinery. RNA splicing regulators have emerged as a new class of oncoproteins and tumor suppressors, and contribute to disease progression by modulating RNA isoforms involved in the hallmark cancer pathways. Thus, dysregulation of alternative RNA splicing is fundamental to cancer and provides a potentially rich source of novel therapeutic targets. Here, we review the alterations in splicing regulatory factors detected in human tumors, as well as the resulting alternatively spliced isoforms that impact cancer hallmarks, and discuss how they contribute to disease pathogenesis. RNA splicing is a highly regulated process and, as such, the regulators are themselves tightly regulated. Differential transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulation of splicing factors modulates their levels and activities in tumor cells. Furthermore, the composition of the tumor microenvironment can also influence which isoforms are expressed in a given cell type and impact drug responses. Finally, we summarize current efforts in targeting alternative splicing, including global splicing inhibition using small molecules blocking the spliceosome or splicing-factor-modifying enzymes, as well as splice-switching RNA-based therapeutics to modulate cancer-specific splicing isoforms. This article is categorized under: RNA in Disease and Development > RNA in Disease RNA Processing > Splicing Regulation/Alternative Splicing.
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              Incidence of noncutaneous melanomas in the U.S.

              Description of the epidemiology of noncutaneous melanoma has been hampered by its rarity. The current report was the largest in-depth descriptive analysis of incidence of noncutaneous melanoma in the United States, using data from the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries. Pooled data from 27 states and one metropolitan area were used to examine the incidence of noncutaneous melanoma by anatomic subsite, gender, age, race, and geography (northern/southern and coastal/noncoastal) for cases diagnosed between 1996 and 2000. Percent distribution by stage of disease at diagnosis and histology were also examined. Between 1996 and 2000, 6691 cases of noncutaneous melanoma (4885 ocular and 1806 mucosal) were diagnosed among 851 million person-years at risk. Ocular melanoma was more common among men compared with women (6.8 cases per million men compared with 5.3 cases per million women, age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. population standard), whereas mucosal melanoma was more common among women (2.8 cases per million women compared with 1.5 cases per million men). Rates of ocular melanoma among whites were greater than eight times higher than among blacks. Rates of mucosal melanoma were approximately two times higher among whites compared with blacks. In contrast to cutaneous melanoma, there was no apparent pattern of increased noncutaneous melanoma among residents of southern or coastal states, with the exception of melanoma of the ciliary body and iris. Despite their shared cellular origins, both ocular and mucosal melanomas differ from cutaneous melanoma in terms of incidence by gender, race, and geographic area. 2005 American Cancer Society.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                clemens.lange@uniklinik-freiburg.de
                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2045-2322
                12 October 2020
                12 October 2020
                2020
                : 10
                Affiliations
                GRID grid.5963.9, Eye Center, Medical Center, Faculty of Medicine, , University of Freiburg, ; Killianstrasse 5, 79106 Freiburg, Germany
                Article
                72864
                10.1038/s41598-020-72864-0
                7550331
                © The Author(s) 2020

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Funding
                Funded by: Projekt DEAL
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                © The Author(s) 2020

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