Single-Cell Molecular Characterization to Partition the Human Glioblastoma Tumor Microenvironment Genetic Background

Cells. 2022 Mar 26;11(7):1127. doi: 10.3390/cells11071127.


Background: Glioblastoma (GB) is a devastating primary brain malignancy. The recurrence of GB is inevitable despite the standard treatment of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, and the median survival is limited to around 15 months. The barriers to treatment include the complex interactions among the different cellular components inhabiting the tumor microenvironment. The complex heterogeneous nature of GB cells is helped by the local inflammatory tumor microenvironment, which mostly induces tumor aggressiveness and drug resistance.

Methods: By using fluorescent multiple labeling and a DEPArray cell separator, we recovered several single cells or groups of single cells from populations of different origins from IDH-WT GB samples. From each GB sample, we collected astrocytes-like (GFAP+), microglia-like (IBA1+), stem-like cells (CD133+), and endothelial-like cells (CD105+) and performed Copy Number Aberration (CNA) analysis with a low sequencing depth. The same tumors were subjected to a bulk CNA analysis.

Results: The tumor partition in its single components allowed single-cell molecular subtyping which revealed new aspects of the GB altered genetic background.

Conclusions: Nowadays, single-cell approaches are leading to a new understanding of GB physiology and disease. Moreover, single-cell CNAs resource will permit new insights into genome heterogeneity, mutational processes, and clonal evolution in malignant tissues.

Keywords: DEPArray; copy number aberrations; glioblastoma; single-cell; tumor microenvironment.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Genetic Background
  • Glioblastoma* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Microglia / pathology
  • Tumor Microenvironment / genetics