Int J Biol Sci 2020; 16(13):2464-2476. doi:10.7150/ijbs.48639

Research Paper

Bioinformatic Analysis of Correlation between Immune Infiltration and COVID-19 in Cancer Patients

Xin Huang1,2,3*, Chaobin He1,2,3*, Xin Hua1,2,4*, Anna Kan1,2,5, Shuxin Sun1,2,3, Jun Wang1,2,3, Shengping Li1,2,3✉

1. Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medicine, Guangzhou 510060, China.
2. Department of Experimental Research, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou 510060, China.
3. Department of Pancreatobiliary Surgery, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou 510060, China.
4. Department of Medical Oncology, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou 510060, China.
5. Department of Hepatic Surgery, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou 510060, China.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.

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Citation:
Huang X, He C, Hua X, Kan A, Sun S, Wang J, Li S. Bioinformatic Analysis of Correlation between Immune Infiltration and COVID-19 in Cancer Patients. Int J Biol Sci 2020; 16(13):2464-2476. doi:10.7150/ijbs.48639. Available from http://www.ijbs.com/v16p2464.htm

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Abstract

In 2020, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused infections worldwide. However, the correlation between the immune infiltration and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) susceptibility or severity in cancer patients remains to be fully elucidated. ACE2 expressions in normal tissues, cancers and cell lines were comprehensively assessed. Furthermore, we compared ACE2 expression between cancers and matched normal tissues through Gene Expression Profiling Interactive Analysis (GEPIA). In addition, we performed gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) to investigate the related signaling pathways. Finally, the correlations between ACE2 expression and immune infiltration were investigated via Tumor Immune Estimation Resource (TIMER) and GEPIA. We found that ACE2 was predominantly expressed in both adult and fetal tissues from the digestive, urinary and male reproductive tracts; moreover, ACE2 expressions in corresponding cancers were generally higher than that in matched healthy tissues. GSEA showed that various metabolic and immune-related pathways were significantly associated with ACE2 expression across multiple cancer types. Intriguingly, we found that ACE2 expression correlated significantly with immune cell infiltration in both normal and cancer tissues, especially in the stomach and colon. These findings proposed a possible fecal-oral and maternal-fetal transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and suggested that cancers of the respiratory, digestive or urinary tracts would be more vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Keywords: ACE2, COVID-19, immune infiltration, cancer