To dissect the disease heterogeneity and identify the underlying cellular and molecular events related to metastasis of immature ovarian teratoma in children, single-cell RNA sequencing was performed for a 2-year-old patient with liver metastases from immature ovarian teratoma. A total of 5976 cells were obtained for further analysis, with a median unique molecular identifier count of 6011 per cell and a median number of 1741 genes detected per cell. Fourteen clusters were recognized, with the main lineages comprising epithelial cells, macrophages, fibroblasts, glial cells, and dendritic cells. Ten subclusters of epithelial cells were further defined, originating from the urinary tract, esophagus, bronchus, lung, skin, and gastrointestinal tract. An undefined UBE2C + population in an active state of proliferation was also identified and its biological processes were related to meiosis and maturation of oocytes. Pseudotime analysis revealed different distributions of epithelial cells in the development trajectory. In conclusion, a cluster of UBE2C + epithelial cells in an active state of proliferation was identified in an immature ovarian teratoma in a child, and may contribute to metastasis by regulating epithelial-mesenchymal transition. These findings help toward understanding the origin of the malignant behaviors, offer a potential biomarker for early determination of the tumor nature, and provide new ideas for the therapy of immature ovarian teratoma in children.
Keywords: Epithelial Epithelial-mesenchymal transition Immature ovarian teratoma Single-cell RNA sequencing UBE2C