Single-cell transcriptome and antigen-immunoglobin analysis reveals the diversity of B cells in non-small cell lung cancer

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Abstract

Background: Malignant transformation and progression of cancer are driven by the co-evolution of cancer cells and their dysregulated tumor microenvironment (TME). Recent studies on immunotherapy demonstrate the efficacy in reverting the anti-tumoral function of T cells, highlighting the therapeutic potential in targeting certain cell types in TME. However, the functions of other immune cell types remain largely unexplored. Results: We conduct a single-cell RNA-seq analysis of cells isolated from tumor tissue samples of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients, and identify subtypes of tumor-infiltrated B cells and their diverse functions in the progression of NSCLC. Flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry experiments on two independent cohorts confirm the co-existence of the two major subtypes of B cells, namely the naïve-like and plasma-like B cells. The naïve-like B cells are decreased in advanced NSCLC, and their lower level is associated with poor prognosis. Co-culture of isolated naïve-like B cells from NSCLC patients with two lung cancer cell lines demonstrate that the naïve-like B cells suppress the growth of lung cancer cells by secreting four factors negatively regulating the cell growth. We also demonstrate that the plasma-like B cells inhibit cancer cell growth in the early stage of NSCLC, but promote cell growth in the advanced stage of NSCLC. The roles of the plasma-like B cell produced immunoglobulins, and their interacting proteins in the progression of NSCLC are further validated by proteomics data. Conclusion: Our analysis reveals versatile functions of tumor-infiltrating B cells and their potential clinical implications in NSCLC.

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Chen, J., Tan, Y., Sun, F., Hou, L., Zhang, C., Ge, T., … Zhang, P. (2020). Single-cell transcriptome and antigen-immunoglobin analysis reveals the diversity of B cells in non-small cell lung cancer. Genome Biology, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13059-020-02064-6

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