Single-cell RNA sequencing reveals evolution of immune landscape during glioblastoma progression

Nat Immunol. 2022 Jun;23(6):971-984. doi: 10.1038/s41590-022-01215-0. Epub 2022 May 27.


Glioblastoma (GBM) is an incurable primary malignant brain cancer hallmarked with a substantial protumorigenic immune component. Knowledge of the GBM immune microenvironment during tumor evolution and standard of care treatments is limited. Using single-cell transcriptomics and flow cytometry, we unveiled large-scale comprehensive longitudinal changes in immune cell composition throughout tumor progression in an epidermal growth factor receptor-driven genetic mouse GBM model. We identified subsets of proinflammatory microglia in developing GBMs and anti-inflammatory macrophages and protumorigenic myeloid-derived suppressors cells in end-stage tumors, an evolution that parallels breakdown of the blood-brain barrier and extensive growth of epidermal growth factor receptor+ GBM cells. A similar relationship was found between microglia and macrophages in patient biopsies of low-grade glioma and GBM. Temozolomide decreased the accumulation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells, whereas concomitant temozolomide irradiation increased intratumoral GranzymeB+ CD8+T cells but also increased CD4+ regulatory T cells. These results provide a comprehensive and unbiased immune cellular landscape and its evolutionary changes during GBM progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Glioblastoma* / metabolism
  • Glioma*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Temozolomide / therapeutic use
  • Tumor Microenvironment / genetics


  • ErbB Receptors
  • Temozolomide