Researchers developed a new model that could be a prognostic indicator for patients with cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) and published their results in BMC Cancer.

“Our results provide evidence for the predictive prognosis of [CCA] and demonstrated that [tumor mutational burden] is not the only prognostic model that can be used to predict the prognosis for patients with [CCA],” the authors wrote.

To construct their risk model, the team led by Jun Lu from the Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery at Shandong Provincial Hospital in China screened mRNAs correlated with N6-methyladenosine (m6A), an mRNA modification that maintains its stability and is involved in the migration and proliferation of tumor cells.

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They identified 1281 m6A-related mRNAs in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) dataset for CCA. They selected 14 of these for further analysis, then screened out 5 proteins to develop a precise m6A-related mRNA prognosis risk model. Finally, using the model, they divided the samples into 2 groups: high-risk and low-risk.

Read more about the prognosis of CCA

“Two Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) datasets . . . were used to validate the risk model,” the researchers said. Through drug sensitivity and immune cell infiltration analyses, they found that the model could “serve as a prognosis index of potential immunotherapeutic characteristics and drug sensitivity.”

The researchers also reported that the proportion of resting dendritic cells and regulatory T cells positively correlated with an increased expression of four m6A-related mRNAs. These were the mRNA for the aryl hydrocarbon receptor-interacting protein, CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein beta, syndecan1, and vacuolar protein sorting 25 homolog.

They concluded that the m6A-related mRNA risk predictive model could be used to screen patients with CCA who respond better to immunotherapy.

CCA is a group of rare malignant tumors originating from cells of the biliary tree with a particularly poor prognosis.


Zhu H, Zhao H, Wang J, et al. Potential prognosis index for m6A-related mRNA in cholangiocarcinoma. BMC Cancer. 2022;22(1):620. doi:10.1186/s12885-022-09665-3