Macrophages in SHH subgroup medulloblastoma display dynamic heterogeneity that varies with treatment modality

Cell Rep. 2021 Mar 30;34(13):108917. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.108917.


Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) play an important role in tumor immunity and comprise of subsets that have distinct phenotype, function, and ontology. Transcriptomic analyses of human medulloblastoma, the most common malignant pediatric brain cancer, showed that medulloblastomas (MBs) with activated sonic hedgehog signaling (SHH-MB) have significantly more TAMs than other MB subtypes. Therefore, we examined MB-associated TAMs by single-cell RNA sequencing of autochthonous murine SHH-MB at steady state and under two distinct treatment modalities: molecular-targeted inhibitor and radiation. Our analyses reveal significant TAM heterogeneity, identify markers of ontologically distinct TAM subsets, and show the impact of brain microenvironment on the differentiation of tumor-infiltrating monocytes. TAM composition undergoes dramatic changes with treatment and differs significantly between molecular-targeted and radiation therapy. We identify an immunosuppressive monocyte-derived TAM subset that emerges with radiation therapy and demonstrate its role in regulating T cell and neutrophil infiltration in MB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / genetics
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / immunology
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Genetic Markers
  • Hedgehog Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Macrophages / pathology*
  • Medulloblastoma / genetics
  • Medulloblastoma / immunology
  • Medulloblastoma / pathology*
  • Medulloblastoma / therapy*
  • Mice
  • Microglia / pathology
  • Monocytes / pathology
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Tumor Microenvironment


  • Genetic Markers
  • Hedgehog Proteins