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Growing evidence supports that cancer progression is closely associated with the tumor microenvironment and immune evasion. Importantly, recent studies have revealed the crucial roles of epigenetic regulators in shaping the tumor microenvironment and restoring immune recognition. N6-methyladenosine (m6A) modification, the most prevalent epigenetic modification of mammalian mRNAs, has essential functions in regulating the processing and metabolism of its targeted RNAs, and therefore affects various biological processes including tumorigenesis and progression. Recent studies have demonstrated the critical functions and molecular mechanisms underlying abnormal m6A modification in the regulation of tumor immunity. In this review, we summarize recent research progress in the potential roles of m6A modification in tumor immunoregulation, with a special focus on the anti-tumor processes of immune cells and involvement in immune-associated molecules and pathways. Furthermore, we review current knowledge regarding the close correlation between m6A-related risk signatures and the tumor immune microenvironment landscape, and we discuss the prognostic value and therapeutic efficacy of m6A regulators in a variety of cancer types.


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N6-methyladenosine (m6A) RNA modification in tumor immunity

Show Author's information Siyi Zheng1,*Hui Han1,*Shuibin Lin2 ( )
Center for Translational Medicine, Precision Medicine Institute, The First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510080, China
Department of Otolaryngology, Center for Translational Medicine, Precision Medicine Institute, The First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510080, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract

Growing evidence supports that cancer progression is closely associated with the tumor microenvironment and immune evasion. Importantly, recent studies have revealed the crucial roles of epigenetic regulators in shaping the tumor microenvironment and restoring immune recognition. N6-methyladenosine (m6A) modification, the most prevalent epigenetic modification of mammalian mRNAs, has essential functions in regulating the processing and metabolism of its targeted RNAs, and therefore affects various biological processes including tumorigenesis and progression. Recent studies have demonstrated the critical functions and molecular mechanisms underlying abnormal m6A modification in the regulation of tumor immunity. In this review, we summarize recent research progress in the potential roles of m6A modification in tumor immunoregulation, with a special focus on the anti-tumor processes of immune cells and involvement in immune-associated molecules and pathways. Furthermore, we review current knowledge regarding the close correlation between m6A-related risk signatures and the tumor immune microenvironment landscape, and we discuss the prognostic value and therapeutic efficacy of m6A regulators in a variety of cancer types.

Keywords: immune evasion, immune cells, N6-methyladenosine (m6A) modification, tumor microenvironment (TME), tumor immunology

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Received: 26 September 2021
Accepted: 07 February 2022
Published: 15 April 2022
Issue date: April 2022

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©2022 Cancer Biology & Medicine.

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We sincerely thank Dr. Demeng Chen for linguistic assistance during the preparation of this manuscript.

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