Delineating the dynamic evolution from preneoplasia to invasive lung adenocarcinoma by integrating single-cell RNA sequencing and spatial transcriptomics

Exp Mol Med. 2022 Nov;54(11):2060-2076. doi: 10.1038/s12276-022-00896-9. Epub 2022 Nov 25.


The cell ecology and spatial niche implicated in the dynamic and sequential process of lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) from adenocarcinoma in situ (AIS) to minimally invasive adenocarcinoma (MIA) and subsequent invasive adenocarcinoma (IAC) have not yet been elucidated. Here, we performed an integrative analysis of single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) and spatial transcriptomics (ST) to characterize the cell atlas of the invasion trajectory of LUAD. We found that the UBE2C + cancer cell subpopulation constantly increased during the invasive process of LUAD with remarkable elevation in IAC, and its spatial distribution was in the peripheral cancer region of the IAC, representing a more malignant phenotype. Furthermore, analysis of the TME cell type subpopulation showed a constant decrease in mast cells, monocytes, and lymphatic endothelial cells, which were implicated in the whole process of invasive LUAD, accompanied by an increase in NK cells and MALT B cells from AIS to MIA and an increase in Tregs and secretory B cells from MIA to IAC. Notably, for AIS, cancer cells, NK cells, and mast cells were colocalized in the cancer region; however, for IAC, Tregs colocalized with cancer cells. Finally, communication and interaction between cancer cells and TME cell-induced constitutive activation of TGF-β signaling were involved in the invasion of IAC. Therefore, our results reveal the specific cellular information and spatial architecture of cancer cells and TME subpopulations, as well as the cellular interaction between them, which will facilitate the identification and development of precision medicine in the invasive process of LUAD from AIS to IAC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma in Situ* / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung* / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung* / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma* / pathology
  • Endothelial Cells / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Transcriptome