Characterizing the biology of primary brain tumors and their microenvironment via single-cell profiling methods

Neuro Oncol. 2022 Oct 5;noac211. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/noac211. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Genomic and transcriptional heterogeneity is prevalent among the most common and aggressive primary brain tumors in children and adults. Over the past 20 years, advances in bioengineering, biochemistry and bioinformatics have enabled the development of an array of techniques to study tumor biology at single-cell resolution. The application of these techniques to study primary brain tumors has helped advance our understanding of their intra-tumoral heterogeneity and uncover new insights regarding their co-option of developmental programs and signaling from their microenvironment to promote tumor proliferation and invasion. These insights are currently being harnessed to develop new therapeutic approaches. Here we provide an overview of current single-cell techniques and discuss relevant biology and therapeutic insights uncovered by their application to primary brain tumors in children and adults.

Keywords: gliomas; medulloblastoma; single-cell methods; single-cell multi-omics; singlecell RNA-seq.