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DKK3 expression is associated with immunosuppression and poor prognosis in glioblastoma, in contrast to lower-grade gliomas.

BMC Neurology 2023 May 7
PURPOSE: We previously reported that expression of dickkopf-3 (DKK3), which is involved in the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, is significantly associated with prognosis in patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). The aim of this study was to compare the association of DKK3 with other Wnt/β-catenin pathway-related genes and immune responses between lower grade glioma (LGG) and GBM.

METHODS: We obtained the clinicopathological data of 515 patients with LGG (World Health Organization [WHO] grade II and III glioma) and 525 patients with GBM from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database. We performed Pearson's correlation analysis to investigate the relationships between Wnt/β-catenin-related gene expression in LGG and GBM. Linear regression analysis was performed to identify the association between DKK3 expression and immune cell fractions in all grade II to IV gliomas.

RESULTS: A total of 1,040 patients with WHO grade II to IV gliomas were included in the study. As the grade of glioma increased, DKK3 showed a tendency to be more strongly positively correlated with the expression of other Wnt/β-catenin pathway-related genes. DKK3 was not associated with immunosuppression in LGG but was associated with downregulation of immune responses in GBM. We hypothesized that the role of DKK3 in the Wnt/β-catenin pathway might be different between LGG and GBM.

CONCLUSION: According to our findings, DKK3 expression had a weak effect on LGG but a significant effect on immunosuppression and poor prognosis in GBM. Therefore, DKK3 expression seems to play different roles, through the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, between LGG and GBM.

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