Single Cell + TME
Brain malignancies can either originate from within the CNS (gliomas) or invade from other locations in the body (metastases). A highly immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) influences brain tumor outgrowth. Whether the TME is predominantly shaped by the CNS micromilieu or by the malignancy itself is unknown, as is the diversity, origin, and function of CNS tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). Here, we have mapped the leukocyte landscape of brain tumors using high-dimensional single-cell profiling (CyTOF). The heterogeneous composition of tissue-resident and invading immune cells within the TME alone permitted a clear distinction between gliomas and brain metastases (BrM). The glioma TME presented predominantly with tissue-resident, reactive microglia, whereas tissue-invading leukocytes accumulated in BrM. Tissue-invading TAMs showed a distinctive signature trajectory, revealing tumor-driven instruction along with contrasting lymphocyte activation and exhaustion. Defining the specific immunological signature of brain tumors can facilitate the rational design of targeted immunotherapy strategies.
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is an aggressive malignancy with extremely skewed ethnic and geographic distributions. Increasing evidence indicates that targeting the tumor microenvironment (TME) represents a promising therapeutic approach in NPC, highlighting an urgent need to deepen the understanding of the complex NPC TME. Here, we generated single-cell transcriptome profiles for 7581 malignant cells and 40,285 immune cells from fifteen primary NPC tumors and one normal sample. We revealed malignant signatures capturing intratumoral transcriptional heterogeneity and predicting aggressiveness of malignant cells. Diverse immune cell subtypes were identified, including novel subtypes such as CLEC9A+ dendritic cells (DCs). We further revealed transcriptional regulators underlying immune cell diversity, and cell-cell interaction analyses highlighted promising immunotherapeutic targets in NPC. Moreover, we established the immune subtype-specific signatures, and demonstrated that the signatures of macrophages, plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs), CLEC9A+ DCs, natural killer (NK) cells, and plasma cells were significantly associated with improved survival outcomes in NPC. Taken together, our findings represent a unique resource providing in-depth insights into the cellular heterogeneity of NPC TME and highlight potential biomarkers for anticancer treatment and risk stratification, laying a new foundation for precision therapies in NPC.
The immune microenvironment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is poorly characterized. Combining two single-cell RNA sequencing technologies, we produced transcriptomes of CD45+ immune cells for HCC patients from five immune-relevant sites: tumor, adjacent liver, hepatic lymph node (LN), blood, and ascites. A cluster of LAMP3+ dendritic cells (DCs) appeared to be the mature form of conventional DCs and possessed the potential to migrate from tumors to LNs. LAMP3+ DCs also expressed diverse immune-relevant ligands and exhibited potential to regulate multiple subtypes of lymphocytes. Of the macrophages in tumors that exhibited distinct transcriptional states, tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) were associated with poor prognosis, and we established the inflammatory role of SLC40A1 and GPNMB in these cells. Further, myeloid and lymphoid cells in ascites were predominantly linked to tumor and blood origins, respectively. The dynamic properties of diverse CD45+ cell types revealed by this study add new dimensions to the immune landscape of HCC.