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Single-Cell Transcriptomic Analyses of Tumor Ecosystems and Spatial Architectures in Human Small Cell Lung Cancers

By Huiling Ouyang, Jian Chen, Chaoliang Xu, Cong He, Luoyan Sheng, Jing Wang, Deshen Pan, Arnaud Augert, Jun Lin, Yuming Zhu, Deshui Jia

Posted 21 Jan 2022
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2022.01.19.475968

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is a highly heterogenous disease characterized by aggressive phenotypes and poor prognosis. In order to dissect the cellular components and their spatial distribution in SCLC ecosystems, here we performed single-cell RNA sequencing and spatial transcriptomics analyses of 12 resected human primary SCLCs. Our analysis revealed extensive heterogeneity of both tumor and non-tumor cells, and a predominant immunosuppressive microenvironment. Importantly, multiple hybrid tumor cell states were unmasked, including hybrid SCLC and lung adenocarcinoma cells as well as hybrid tumor and immune cells, indicating high phenotypic plasticity of tumor cells. Moreover, we revealed the cellular origin and evolution of these hybrid tumor cells, and critical roles of tumor-stromal cellular crosstalk in driving the development of hybrid cells. In conclusion, this study deepens our understanding of human SCLC ecosystems and provides rationales to target the hybrid tumor cells and immunosuppressive microenvironment for SCLC therapies.

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