Consensus Molecular Subtypes Efficiently Classify Gastric Adenocarcinomas and Predict the Response to Anti-PD-1 Immunotherapy

Xiangyan Wu, Yuhan Ye, Kenneth J. Vega, Jiannan Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Gastric adenocarcinoma (GAC) is highly heterogeneous and closely related to colorectal cancer (CRC) both molecularly and functionally. GAC is currently subtyped using a system developed by TCGA. However, with the emergence of immunotherapies, this system has failed to identify suitable treatment candidates. Methods: Consensus molecular subtypes (CMSs) developed for CRC were used for molecular subtyping in GAC based on public expression cohorts, including TCGA, ACRG, and a cohort of GAC patients treated with the programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) inhibitor pembrolizumab. All aspects of each subtype, including clinical outcome, molecular characteristics, oncogenic pathway activity, and the response to immunotherapy, were fully explored. Results: CMS classification was efficiently applied to GAC. CMS4, characterized by EMT activation, stromal invasion, angiogenesis, and the worst clinical outcomes (median OS 24.2 months), was the predominant subtype (38.8%~44.3%) and an independent prognostic indicator that outperformed classical TCGA subtyping. CMS1 (20.9%~21.5%) displayed hypermutation, low SCNV, immune activation, and best clinical outcomes (median OS > 120 months). CMS3 (17.95%~25.7%) was characterized by overactive metabolism, KRAS mutation, and intermediate outcomes (median OS 85.6 months). CMS2 (14.6%~16.3%) was enriched for WNT and MYC activation, differentiated epithelial characteristics, APC mutation, lack of ARID1A, and intermediate outcomes (median OS 48.7 months). Notably, CMS1 was strongly correlated with immunotherapy biomarkers and favorable for the anti-PD-1 drug pembrolizumab, whereas CMS4 was poorly responsive but became more sensitive after EMT-based stratification. Conclusions: Our study reveals the practical utility of CMS classification for GAC to improve clinical outcomes and identify candidates who will respond to immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3740
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • companion biomarker
  • epithelial–mesenchymal transition
  • microsatellite instability
  • molecular characteristic
  • pembrolizumab
  • tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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