Abstract

RhoA is a member of the RHO family GTPases and is associated with essential functions in gastric cancer. In this study, we identified a gastric cancer biomarker, termed the “regulation of RhoA activity panel” (RRAP). Patients with gastric cancer from The Cancer Genome Atlas database were divided into training (N=160) and validation (N=155) cohorts. A cohort of 109 Chinese gastric cancer patients was utilized as an independent validation. Patients with mutated RRAP showed significantly better overall survival than patients with wild type RRAP. We also analyzed the association between RRAP and the migration capacity, immune-related signatures, and the tumor microenvironment. RRAP-mutant tumors had a significantly lower degree of lymph node metastasis and lower activities of migration-related pathways. These tumors also showed significantly increased immune cell infiltration and cytotoxic activity. Furthermore, two independent patient cohorts who received immune checkpoint blockade therapy were assessed for RRAP mutant status. As expected, for both immunotherapy cohorts, higher response rates to immune checkpoint blockade therapy were observed in patients with RRAP-mutant tumors than in patients with wild type RRAP tumors. Overall, this study indicates that the RRAP gene set is a potential biomarker for gastric cancer prognosis and therapeutic selection.