Abstract

The heterogeneity of colon cancer tumors suggests that therapeutics targeting specific molecules may be effective in only a few patients. It is therefore necessary to explore gene mutations in colon cancer. In this study, we obtained colon cancer samples from The Cancer Genome Atlas, and the International Cancer Genome Consortium. We evaluated the landscape of somatic mutations in colon cancer and found that KRAS mutations, particularly rs121913529, were frequent and had prognostic value. Using ESTIMATE analysis, we observed that the KRAS-mutated group had higher tumor purity, lower immune score, and lower stromal score than the wild-type group. Through single-sample Gene Set Enrichment Analysis and Gene Set Enrichment Analysis, we found that KRAS mutations negatively correlated with enrichment levels of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes, inflammation, and cytolytic activities. HLA gene expression and checkpoint-related genes were also lower in the KRAS-mutated group. Finally, we found 24 immune-related genes that differed in expression between the KRAS-mutated and wild-type samples, which may provide clues to the mechanism of KRAS-related immune alteration. Our findings are indicative of the prognostic and predictive value of KRAS and illustrate the relationship between KRAS mutations and immune activity in colon cancer.