Abstract

Growing evidence has highlighted the immune response as an important feature of carcinogenesis and therapeutic efficacy in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). This study categorized ccRCC cases into high and low score groups based on their immune/stromal scores generated by the ESTIMATE algorithm, and identified an association between these scores and prognosis. Differentially expressed tumor environment (TME)-related genes extracted from common upregulated components in immune and stromal scores were described using functional annotations and protein–protein interaction (PPI) networks. Most PPIs were selected for further prognostic investigation. Many additional previously neglected signatures, including AGPAT9, AQP7, HMGCS2, KLF15, MLXIPL, PPARGC1A, exhibited significant prognostic potential. In addition, multivariate Cox analysis indicated that MIXIPL and PPARGC1A were the most significant prognostic signatures, and were closely related to immune infiltration in TCGA cohort. External prognostic validation of MIXIPL and PPARGC1A was undertaken in 380 ccRCC cases from a real-world cohort. These findings indicate the relevance of monitoring and manipulation of the microenvironment for ccRCC prognosis and precision immunotherapy.