Glioblastoma is a treatment-resistant brain cancer. Its hierarchical cellular nature and its tumour microenvironment (TME) before, during, and after treatments remain unresolved.
Here, we used single-cell RNA-sequencing to analyze new and recurrent glioblastoma, and the nearby subventricular zone (SVZ).
We found four glioblastoma neural lineages are present in new and recurrent glioblastoma with an enrichment of the cancer mesenchymal lineage, immune cells, and reactive astrocytes in early recurrences. Cancer lineages were hierarchically organized around cycling oligodendrocytic and astrocytic progenitors that are transcriptomically similar but distinct to SVZ neural stem cells (NSCs). Furthermore, NSCs from the SVZ of glioblastoma patients harbored glioblastoma chromosomal anomalies. Lastly, mesenchymal cancer cells and TME reactive astrocytes shared similar gene signatures which were induced by radiotherapy in a myeloid-dependent fashion in vivo.
These data reveal the dynamic, immune-dependent nature of glioblastoma's response to treatments and identify distant NSCs as likely cells of origin.