A new study has reported on the construction of the first 5-methylcytosine (m5C)- and immune-related prognostic signature (m5CPS) for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), based on coexpressed regulatory m5C and immune-related genes.

The study, published in Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine, established the biomarker based on an analysis of a training cohort and verified it with test and validation cohorts.

“In this study, for the first time, a reliable prognostic signature that can be used to predict and identify IPF patients was constructed based on m5C’s regulatory-related genes and immune-related genes,” the authors wrote. “The research on m5C may provide novel approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of IPF.”

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The research team used bronchoalveolar lavage cell samples from 176 patients and 20 healthy controls that were obtained from a specific series in the Gene Expression Omnibus database.

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Ten m5C regulatory-related genes from previous studies were analyzed to identify coexpressed genes for the training cohort, and area under the curve values were used to determine the prognostic accuracy of the m5CPS in patients with IPF. Furthermore, the test and validation cohorts were used to confirm the reliability of the m5CPS.

The results showed that in the samples from patients with IPF, m5CPS demonstrated verified accuracy in predicting 1-, 3-, and 5-year patient survival. The authors remarked on the value of this function in IPF given that this condition has the poorest prognosis among the range of pulmonary interstitial diseases. In addition, m5CPS was able to distinguish between patients with IPF and healthy controls.

The authors also determined that patients with IPF and high m5CPS scores were sensitive to the following drug compounds: axitinib, ZM447439, AZD1332, linsitinib, alpelisib, taselisib, WZ4003, and NVP.ADW742. They noted that the molecular mechanisms of m5CPS will need to be explored in vitro and in vivo in future studies.


Huang T, Zhou HF. A novel 5-methylcytosine- and immune-related prognostic signature is a potential marker of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Comput Math Methods Med. Published online October 8, 2022. doi:10.1155/2022/1685384