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Abstract Details


Abstract Date: 5/1/2016

Andrew Venteicher, MD, PhD
Itay Tirosh, PhD
Christine Hebert, BS
Leah Escalante, BS
Brian Nahed, MD
William Curry, MD
Robert Martuza, MD
Daniel Cahill, MD, PhD
Aviv Regev, PhD
Mario Suva, MD, PhD (Boston, MA)


Heterogeneity among tumor cells within human glioma underlie their ability resist chemotherapy and radiation, ultimately leading to tumor recurrence. Mounting evidence indicates that rarer subpopulations of tumor cells are endowed with stem-like properties, which are capable of resisting chemoradiation, proliferating, and causing more aggressive, recurrent tumors. Characterizing these rarer glioma stem-like populations has been difficult due to their elusive nature.


We have optimized a technique to isolate single tumor cells for RNA sequencing from primary human gliomas at time of resection in consented patients. We perform sensitive reverse transcriptase and amplification from each isolated cell, and to date we have profiled the transcriptome from over several thousand cells purified from IDH1-mutant gliomas.  Using computational analysis, we searched for tumor subpopulations based on gene expression profile within IDH1-mutant gliomas.


Comparing the gene expression profiles of tumor cells derived from IDH1-mutant gliomas demonstrates that a majority of tumor cells are differentiated along two specialized glial programs. Surprisingly, a third rarer subpopulation of tumor cells was also detected that express a distinct stem-like program.  Consistently, cellular proliferation was restricted to this stem-like subpopulation, consistent with the existence of a stem-like compartment that is solely responsible for fueling growth of IDH1-mutant gliomas in humans.  The expression signature shared among these glioma stem-like cells mirrors the signature from normal fetal neurodevelopment, suggesting that features of a neurodevelopmental program are co-opted to support the growth and maintenance of human gliomas.


Single cell transcriptome analysis in IDH1-mutant gliomas reveals three distinct subpopulations of tumor cells: two dominant populations of specialized glial-like cells and a third rarer stem/progenitor-like subpopulation capable of cellular proliferation. These results provide unprecedented insight into the cellular composition of IDH1-mutant gliomas with critical implications for disease management.


Article ID: AA-34828

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