Single-Cell Transcriptomics Reveals the Complexity of the Tumor Microenvironment of Treatment-Naive Osteosarcoma

Yun Liu, Wenyu Feng, Yan Dai, Mengying Bao, Zhenchao Yuan, Mingwei He, Zhaojie Qin, Shijie Liao, Juliang He, Qian Huang, Zhenyuan Yu, Yanyu Zeng, Binqian Guo, Rong Huang, Rirong Yang, Yonghua Jiang, Jinling Liao, Zengming Xiao, Xinli Zhan, Chengsen LinJiake Xu, Yu Ye, Jie Ma, Qingjun Wei, Zengnan Mo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


Osteosarcoma (OS), which occurs most commonly in adolescents, is associated with a high degree of malignancy and poor prognosis. In order to develop an accurate treatment for OS, a deeper understanding of its complex tumor microenvironment (TME) is required. In the present study, tissues were isolated from six patients with OS, and then subjected to single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) using a 10× Genomics platform. Multiplex immunofluorescence staining was subsequently used to validate the subsets identified by scRNA-seq. ScRNA-seq of six patients with OS was performed prior to neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and data were obtained on 29,278 cells. A total of nine major cell types were identified, and the single-cell transcriptional map of OS was subsequently revealed. Identified osteoblastic OS cells were divided into five subsets, and the subsets of those osteoblastic OS cells with significant prognostic correlation were determined using a deconvolution algorithm. Thereby, different transcription patterns in the cellular subtypes of osteoblastic OS cells were reported, and key transcription factors associated with survival prognosis were identified. Furthermore, the regulation of osteolysis by osteoblastic OS cells via receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand was revealed. Furthermore, the role of osteoblastic OS cells in regulating angiogenesis through vascular endothelial growth factor-A was revealed. C3_TXNIP+ macrophages and C5_IFIT1+ macrophages were found to regulate regulatory T cells and participate in CD8+ T cell exhaustion, illustrating the possibility of immunotherapy that could target CD8+ T cells and macrophages. Our findings here show that the role of C1_osteoblastic OS cells in OS is to promote osteolysis and angiogenesis, and this is associated with survival prognosis. In addition, T cell depletion is an important feature of OS. More importantly, the present study provided a valuable resource for the in-depth study of the heterogeneity of the OS TME.

Original languageEnglish
Article number709210
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2021


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