Single-cell sequencing promises a high-resolution view of genetic heterogeneity and clonal evolution in cancer. However, methods to infer tumor evolution from single-cell sequencing data lag behind methods developed for bulk-sequencing data. Here, we present OncoNEM, a probabilistic method for inferring intra-tumor evolutionary lineage trees from somatic single nucleotide variants of single cells. OncoNEM identifies homogeneous cellular subpopulations and infers their genotypes as well as a tree describing their evolutionary relationships. In simulation studies, we assess OncoNEM's robustness and benchmark its performance against competing methods. Finally, we show its applicability in case studies of muscle-invasive bladder cancer and essential thrombocythemia.
Keywords: Cancer evolution; Phylogenetic tree; Single-cell sequencing; Tumor evolution; Tumor heterogeneity.