An Integrated Gene Expression Landscape Profiling Approach to Identify Lung Tumor Endothelial Cell Heterogeneity and Angiogenic Candidates

Cancer Cell. 2020 Jan 13;37(1):21-36.e13. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2019.12.001.


Heterogeneity of lung tumor endothelial cell (TEC) phenotypes across patients, species (human/mouse), and models (in vivo/in vitro) remains poorly inventoried at the single-cell level. We single-cell RNA (scRNA)-sequenced 56,771 endothelial cells from human/mouse (peri)-tumoral lung and cultured human lung TECs, and detected 17 known and 16 previously unrecognized phenotypes, including TECs putatively regulating immune surveillance. We resolved the canonical tip TECs into a known migratory tip and a putative basement-membrane remodeling breach phenotype. Tip TEC signatures correlated with patient survival, and tip/breach TECs were most sensitive to vascular endothelial growth factor blockade. Only tip TECs were congruent across species/models and shared conserved markers. Integrated analysis of the scRNA-sequenced data with orthogonal multi-omics and meta-analysis data across different human tumors, validated by functional analysis, identified collagen modification as a candidate angiogenic pathway.

Keywords: angiogenesis; anti-angiogenic therapy; cancer; endothelial cells; endothelial heterogeneity; multi-omics; single-cell RNA sequencing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Basement Membrane / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Collagen / chemistry
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic*
  • Phenotype
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Collagen