Single-Cell Transcriptomic Analysis of Mammary Tumors Reveals Distinct Patterns of Hierarchical and Subtype Heterogeneity
54 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2019 Publication Status: Under ReviewMore...
Breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) contribute to intra-tumoral heterogeneity and therapeutic resistance. However, the binary concept of universal BCSCs co-existing with bulk tumor cells is over-simplified. Through single-cell RNA-sequencing, we found that Neu, PyMT, BRCA1-null, and 4T1 mammary tumors each corresponded to a spectrum of minimally overlapping cell differentiation states without a universal BCSC population. Instead, our analyses revealed that these tumors contained distinct lineage-specific BCSCs and this is reflective of the self-sustaining capabilities of lineage-specific stem/progenitor cells in the mammary epithelial hierarchy. By understanding the respective tumor hierarchies, we were able to identify CD14 as a BCSC marker in the Neu tumor. Additionally, single-cell breast cancer subtype stratification revealed the co-existence of multiple breast cancer subtypes within tumors. Collectively, our findings emphasize the need to account for lineage-specific BCSCs and the hierarchical composition within breast tumors, as these heterogenous sub-populations can have differential therapeutic susceptibilities.
Keywords: Breast cancer, Cancer stem cells, Single-cell, Intra-tumoral heterogeneity, CD14
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