Intrinsic subtypes of gastric cancer, based on gene expression pattern, predict survival and respond differently to chemotherapy

Iain Beehuat Tan, Tatiana Ivanova, Kiat Hon Lim, Chee Wee Ong, Niantao Deng, Julian Lee, Sze Huey Tan, Jeanie Wu, Ming Hui Lee, Chia Huey Ooi, Sun Young Rha, Wai Keong Wong, Alex Boussioutas, Khay Guan Yeoh, Jimmy So, Wei Peng Yong, Akira Tsuburaya, Heike Grabsch, Han Chong Toh, Steven RozenJae Ho Cheong, Sung Hoon Noh, Wei Kiat Wan, Jaffer A. Ajani, Juseog Lee, Manuel Salto Tellez, Patrick Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

284 Citations (Scopus)


Background & Aims: Gastric cancer (GC) is a heterogeneous disease comprising multiple subtypes that have distinct biological properties and effects in patients. We sought to identify new, intrinsic subtypes of GC by gene expression analysis of a large panel of GC cell lines. We tested if these subtypes might be associated with differences in patient survival times and responses to various standard-of-care cytotoxic drugs. Methods: We analyzed gene expression profiles for 37 GC cell lines to identify intrinsic GC subtypes. These subtypes were validated in primary tumors from 521 patients in 4 independent cohorts, where the subtypes were determined by either expression profiling or subtype-specific immunohistochemical markers (LGALS4, CDH17). In vitro sensitivity to 3 chemotherapy drugs (5-fluorouracil, cisplatin, oxaliplatin) was also assessed. Results: Unsupervised cell line analysis identified 2 major intrinsic genomic subtypes (G-INT and G-DIF) that had distinct patterns of gene expression. The intrinsic subtypes, but not subtypes based on Lauren's histopathologic classification, were prognostic of survival, based on univariate and multivariate analysis in multiple patient cohorts. The G-INT cell lines were significantly more sensitive to 5-fluorouracil and oxaliplatin, but more resistant to cisplatin, than the G-DIF cell lines. In patients, intrinsic subtypes were associated with survival time following adjuvant, 5-fluorouracilbased therapy. Conclusions: Intrinsic subtypes of GC, based on distinct patterns of expression, are associated with patient survival and response to chemotherapy. Classification of GC based on intrinsic subtypes might be used to determine prognosis and customize therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-485.e11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Aug

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding Supported by grants from BMRC 05/1/31/19/423 (to P.T.), NMRC grant TCR/001/2007 (to P.T.), and a Duke-National University of Singapore core grant (to P.T.). Also supported by grants from the National Research Foundation of Singapore and American Society of Clinical Oncology Conquer Cancer Foundation (to I.B.T.). Cohort 3 was funded by NIH R01 (to J.-S.L.). J.A.A. is supported by a program grant from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center ; the Park, Dallas, Cantu, and Smith families; Kevin and Sultan funds; and Rivercreek and Schecter Private Foundations. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Funding Information:
Conflicts of interest The authors disclose the following: As mandated for research projects funded by the Singapore government, a patent application covering this work has been filed by Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd, the intellectual property arm of the Agency for Science Technology and Research, Singapore.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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