Single-Cell Sequencing Reveals that DBI is the Key Gene and Potential Therapeutic Target in Quiescent Bladder Cancer Stem Cells

Front Genet. 2022 Jun 3;13:904536. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2022.904536. eCollection 2022.


Background: Drug resistance and recurrence often develop during the treatment of muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC). The existence of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in MIBC makes the formulation of effective treatment strategies extremely challenging. We aimed to use single-cell RNA sequencing approaches to identify CSCs and evaluate their molecular characteristics and to discover possible therapeutic measures. Methods: GEO data sets GSE130001 and GSE146137 were used to construct an expression matrix. After cells were identified by type, malignant epithelial cells inferred by InferCNV were extracted for stemness evaluation. The subset of cells with the highest stemness was subjected to weighted gene coexpression network analysis (WGCNA) and pseudotime analysis to identify key genes. In addition, we predicted drug sensitivity relationships for key genes in CTD and predicted the correlation between drugs and survival through siGDC. Results: We found that there were some CSCs in MIBC samples. The CSC population was heterogeneous during tumor development and was divided into quiescent and proliferating CSCs. We identified DBI as the key gene in quiescent CSCs. Analysis of a TCGA data set showed that higher DBI expression indicated higher histological grade. In addition, we predicted that acetaminophen can reduce DBI expression, thereby reducing the stemness of CSCs. Thus, we identified a potential new use of acetaminophen. Conclusion: We systematically explored CSCs in tumors and determined that DBI may be a key gene and potential therapeutic target in quiescent CSCs. In addition, we confirmed that acetaminophen may be a candidate drug targeting CSCs, improving our understanding of CSC-targeting therapeutic strategies.

Keywords: DBI; acetaminophen; bladder cancer; cancer stem cells; scRNA-seq.