Background: Immunogenic cell death (ICD) is a form of regulated cell death (RCD) which could drive the activation of the innate and adaptive immune responses. In this work, we aimed to develop an ICD-related signature to facilitate the assessment of prognosis and immunotherapy response for melanoma patients.

Methods: A set of machine learning methods, including consensus clustering, non-negative matrix factorization (NMF) method and least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) logistic regression model, and bioinformatics analytic tools were integrated to construct an ICD-related risk score (ICDscore). CIBERSORT and ESTIMATE algorithm were used to evaluate the infiltration of immune cells. The 'pRRophetic' package in R and 6 cohorts of melanoma patients receiving immunotherapy were used for therapy sensitivity analyses. The predictive performance between ICDscore with other mRNA signatures were also compared.

Results: The ICDscore could predict prognosis and immunotherapy response in multiple cohorts, and displayed superior performance than other forms of cell death-related signatures or 52 published signatures. The melanoma patients with low ICDscore were marked with high infiltration of immune cells, high expression of immune checkpoint inhibitor-related genes, and increased tumor mutation burden.

Conclusions: In conclusion, we constructed a stable and robust ICD-related signature for evaluating the prognosis and benefits of immunotherapy, and it could serve as a promising tool to guide decision-making and surveillance for individual melanoma patients.