Cryopreservation of human cancers conserves tumour heterogeneity for single-cell multi-omics analysis
Sunny Z. Wu,
Daniel L. Roden,
Aurélie S Cazet,
Mun N. Hui,
Ewan A. Millar,
Anthony M Joshua,
James S. Wilmott,
Georgina V. Long,
Richard A. Scolyer,
Joseph E. Powell,
Posted 06 Jun 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.06.04.135277
Posted 06 Jun 2020
Background: High throughput single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-Seq) has emerged as a powerful tool for exploring cellular heterogeneity amongst complex human cancers. scRNA-Seq studies using fresh human surgical tissue is logistically difficult, precludes histopathological triage of samples and limits the ability to perform batch processing. This hinderance can often introduce technical biases when integrating patient datasets and increase experimental costs. Although tissue preservation methods have been previously explored to address such issues, it is yet to be examined on complex human tissues, such as solid cancers, and on high throughput scRNA-Seq platforms. Results: We show that the viable cryopreservation of human cancers provides high quality single-cell transcriptomes using the Chromium 10X platform. We sequenced a total of ~120,000 cells from fresh and cryopreserved replicates across three breast cancers, two prostate cancers and a cutaneous melanoma. Importantly, tumour heterogeneity identified from fresh tissues was largely conserved in cryopreserved replicates. We show that sequencing of single cells prepared from cryopreserved tissue fragments or from cryopreserved cell suspensions is comparable to sequenced cells prepared from fresh tissue, with cryopreserved cell suspensions displaying higher correlations with fresh tissue in gene expression. We then show that cryopreservation had minimal impacts on results of downstream analyses such as biological pathway enrichment. Further, we demonstrate the advantage of cryopreserving whole-cells for immunophenotyping methods such as CITE-Seq, which is impossible using other preservation methods such as single nuclei-sequencing. Conclusions: Our study guides new experimental designs for tissue biobanking for future clinical single-cell RNA sequencing studies. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
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