High-Risk neuroblastoma (NB) survival rate is still <50%, despite treatments being more and more aggressive. The biggest hurdle liable to cancer therapy failure is the drug resistance by tumor cells that is likely due to the intra-tumor heterogeneity (ITH). To investigate the link between ITH and therapy resistance in NB, we performed a single cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) of etoposide and cisplatin resistant NB and their parental cells. Our analysis showed a clear separation of resistant and parental cells for both conditions by identifying 8 distinct tumor clusters in etoposide-resistant/parental and 7 in cisplatin-resistant/parental cells. We discovered that drug resistance can affect NB cell identities; highlighting the bi-directional ability of adrenergic-to-mesenchymal transition of NB cells. The biological processes driving the identified resistant cell subpopulations revealed genes such as (BARD1, BRCA1, PARP1, HISTH1 axis, members of RPL family), suggesting a potential drug resistance due to the acquisition of DNA repair mechanisms and to the modification of the drug targets. Deconvolution analysis of bulk RNAseq data from 498 tumors with cell subpopulation signatures showed that the transcriptional heterogeneity of our cellular models reflected the ITH of NB tumors and allowed the identification of clusters associated with worse/better survival. Our study demonstrates the distinct cell populations characterized by genes involved in different biological processes can have a role in NB drug treatment failure. These findings evidence the importance of ITH in NB drug resistance studies and the chance that scRNA-seq analysis offers in the identification of genes and pathways liable for drug resistance.

Single-cell transcriptomics of neuroblastoma identifies chemoresistance-associated genes and pathways

Domenicotti, Cinzia;Marengo, Barbara;
2022-01-01

Abstract

High-Risk neuroblastoma (NB) survival rate is still <50%, despite treatments being more and more aggressive. The biggest hurdle liable to cancer therapy failure is the drug resistance by tumor cells that is likely due to the intra-tumor heterogeneity (ITH). To investigate the link between ITH and therapy resistance in NB, we performed a single cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) of etoposide and cisplatin resistant NB and their parental cells. Our analysis showed a clear separation of resistant and parental cells for both conditions by identifying 8 distinct tumor clusters in etoposide-resistant/parental and 7 in cisplatin-resistant/parental cells. We discovered that drug resistance can affect NB cell identities; highlighting the bi-directional ability of adrenergic-to-mesenchymal transition of NB cells. The biological processes driving the identified resistant cell subpopulations revealed genes such as (BARD1, BRCA1, PARP1, HISTH1 axis, members of RPL family), suggesting a potential drug resistance due to the acquisition of DNA repair mechanisms and to the modification of the drug targets. Deconvolution analysis of bulk RNAseq data from 498 tumors with cell subpopulation signatures showed that the transcriptional heterogeneity of our cellular models reflected the ITH of NB tumors and allowed the identification of clusters associated with worse/better survival. Our study demonstrates the distinct cell populations characterized by genes involved in different biological processes can have a role in NB drug treatment failure. These findings evidence the importance of ITH in NB drug resistance studies and the chance that scRNA-seq analysis offers in the identification of genes and pathways liable for drug resistance.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1094997
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