Loss of HES1 expression is associated with extracellular matrix remodeling and tumor immune suppression in KRAS mutant colon adenocarcinomas

Lei Wang, Wenchao Gu, Bingqing Zou, Matthew Kalady, Wei Xin, Lan Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The loss of HES1, a canonical Notch signaling target, may cooperate with KRAS mutations to remodel the extracellular matrix and to suppress the anti-tumor immune response. While HES1 expression is normal in benign hyperplastic polyps and normal colon tissue, HES1 expression is often lost in sessile serrated adenomas/polyps (SSAs/SSPs) and colorectal cancers (CRCs) such as those right-sided CRCs that commonly harbor BRAF or KRAS mutations. To develop a deeper understanding of interaction between KRAS and HES1 in colorectal carcinogenesis, we selected microsatellite stable (MSS) and KRAS mutant or KRAS wild type CRCs that show aberrant expression of HES1 by immunohistochemistry. By comparing the transcriptional landscapes of microsatellite stable (MSS) CRCs with or without nuclear HES1 expression, we investigated differentially expressed genes and activated pathways. We identified pathways and markers in the extracellular matrix and immune microenvironment that are associated with mutations in KRAS. We found that loss of HES1 expression positively correlated with matrix remodeling and epithelial-mesenchymal transition but negatively correlated with tumor cell proliferation. Furthermore, loss of HES1 expression in KRAS mutant CRCs correlates with a higher M2 macrophage polarization and activation of IL6 and IL10 immunosuppressive signature. Identifying these HES1-related markers may be useful for prognosis stratification and developing treatment for KRAS-mutant CRCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15999
Pages (from-to)15999
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 25 2023


  • Humans
  • Colonic Neoplasms/genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)/genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma/genetics
  • Immunosuppression Therapy
  • Extracellular Matrix/genetics
  • Tumor Microenvironment/genetics
  • Transcription Factor HES-1/genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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