Single-cell landscapes of primary glioblastomas and matched explants and cell lines show variable retention of inter- and intratumor heterogeneity

Cancer Cell. 2022 Apr 11;40(4):379-392.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2022.02.016. Epub 2022 Mar 17.


Glioblastomas (GBMs) are aggressive brain tumors characterized by extensive inter- and intratumor heterogeneity. Patient-derived models, such as organoids and explants, have recently emerged as useful models to study such heterogeneity, although the extent to which they can recapitulate GBM genomic features remains unclear. Here, we analyze bulk exome and single-cell genome and transcriptome profiles of 12 IDH wild-type GBMs, including two recurrent tumors, and of patient-derived explants (PDEs) and gliomasphere (GS) lines derived from these tumors. We find that PDEs are genetically similar to, and variably retain gene expression characteristics of, their parent tumors. Notably, PDEs appear to exhibit similar levels of transcriptional heterogeneity compared with their parent tumors, whereas GS lines tend to be enriched for cells in a more uniform transcriptional state. The approaches and datasets introduced here will provide a valuable resource to help guide experiments using GBM-derived models, especially in the context of studying cellular heterogeneity.

Keywords: 3D models; explant; glioblastoma; gliomasphere; patient-derived models; single-cell RNA-seq; single-cell genome sequencing; single-cell genomics; whole-exome sequencing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Brain Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Cell Line
  • Genomics
  • Glioblastoma* / genetics
  • Glioblastoma* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local