The Promise of Single-cell Technology in Providing New Insights Into the Molecular Heterogeneity and Management of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Hemasphere. 2022 May 26;6(6):e734. doi: 10.1097/HS9.0000000000000734. eCollection 2022 Jun.


Drug resistance and treatment failure in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) are in part driven by tumor heterogeneity and clonal evolution. Although bulk tumor genomic analyses have provided some insight into these processes, single-cell sequencing has emerged as a powerful technique to profile individual cells in unprecedented detail. Since the introduction of single-cell RNA sequencing, we now have the capability to capture not only transcriptomic, but also genomic, epigenetic, and proteomic variation between single cells separately and in combination. This rapidly evolving field has the potential to transform our understanding of the fundamental biology of pediatric ALL and guide the management of ALL patients to improve their clinical outcome. Here, we discuss the impact single-cell sequencing has had on our understanding of tumor heterogeneity and clonal evolution in ALL and provide examples of how single-cell technology can be integrated into the clinic to inform treatment decisions for children with high-risk disease.

Publication types

  • Review