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Single-cell analysis of hepatoblastoma identifies tumor signatures that predict chemotherapy susceptibility using patient-specific tumor spheroids


Pediatric hepatoblastoma is the most common primary liver cancer in infants and children. Studies of hepatoblastoma that focus exclusively on tumor cells demonstrate sparse somatic mutations and a common cell of origin, the hepatoblast, across patients. In contrast to the homogeneity these studies would suggest, hepatoblastoma tumors have a high degree of heterogeneity that can portend poor prognosis. In this study, we use single-cell transcriptomic techniques to analyze resected human pediatric hepatoblastoma specimens, and identify five hepatoblastoma tumor signatures that may account for the tumor heterogeneity observed in this disease. Notably, patient-derived hepatoblastoma spheroid cultures predict differential responses to treatment based on the transcriptomic signature of each tumor, suggesting a path forward for precision oncology for these tumors. In this work, we define hepatoblastoma tumor heterogeneity with single-cell resolution and demonstrate that patient-derived spheroids can be used to evaluate responses to chemotherapy.

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