Cancer Communications
indexed by SCI

Original article
Transcriptomic but not genomic variability confers phenotype of breast cancer stem cells
Mengying Tong, Ziqian Deng, Mengying Yang, Chang Xu, Xiaolong Zhang, Qingzheng Zhang, Yuwei Liao, Xiaodi Deng, Dekang Lv, Xuehong Zhang, Yu Zhang, Peiying Li, Luyao Song, Bicheng Wang, Aisha Al-Dherasi, Zhiguang Li and Quentin Liu
Center of Genome and Personalized Medicine, Institute of Cancer Stem Cell, Dalian Medical University, Dalian 116044, Liaoning, P. R. China

Breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) are considered responsible for cancer relapse and drug resistance. Understanding the identity of BCSCs may open new avenues in breast cancer therapy. Although several discoveries have been made on BCSC characterization, the factors critical to the origination of BCSCs are largely unclear. This study aimed to determine whether genomic mutations contribute to the acquisition of cancer stem-like phenotype and to investigate the genetic and transcriptional features of BCSCs.
We detected potential BCSC phenotype-associated mutation hotspot regions by using whole-genome sequencing on parental cancer cells and derived serial-generation spheres in increasing order of BCSC frequency, and then performed target deep DNA sequencing at bulk-cell and single-cell levels. To identify the transcriptional program associated with BCSCs, bulk-cell and single-cell RNA sequencing was performed.
By using whole-genome sequencing of bulk cells, potential BCSC phenotype-associated mutation hotspot regions were detected. Validation by target deep DNA sequencing, at both bulk-cell and single-cell levels, revealed no genetic changes specifically associated with BCSC phenotype. Moreover, single-cell RNA sequencing showed profound transcriptomic variability in cancer cells at the single-cell level that predicted BCSC features. Notably, this transcriptomic variability was enriched during the transcription of 74 genes, revealed as BCSC markers. Breast cancer patients with a high risk of relapse exhibited higher expression levels of these BCSC markers than those with a low risk of relapse, thereby highlighting the clinical significance of predicting breast cancer prognosis with these BCSC markers.
Transcriptomic variability, not genetic mutations, distinguishes BCSCs from non-BCSCs. The identified 74 BCSC markers have the potential of becoming novel targets for breast cancer therapy.
Cancer Communications   Epub date: 9/26/2018   doi:10.1186/s40880-018-0326-8   [ PDF Full-text ]   

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