Coordinated single-cell tumor microenvironment dynamics reinforce pancreatic cancer subtype

Ki Oh, Yun Jae Yoo, Luke A. Torre-Healy, Manisha Rao, Danielle Fassler, Pei Wang, Michael Caponegro, Mei Gao, Joseph Kim, Aaron Sasson, Georgios Georgakis, Scott Powers, Richard A. Moffitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Bulk analyses of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) samples are complicated by the tumor microenvironment (TME), i.e. signals from fibroblasts, endocrine, exocrine, and immune cells. Despite this, we and others have established tumor and stroma subtypes with prognostic significance. However, understanding of underlying signals driving distinct immune and stromal landscapes is still incomplete. Here we integrate 92 single cell RNA-seq samples from seven independent studies to build a reproducible PDAC atlas with a focus on tumor-TME interdependence. Patients with activated stroma are synonymous with higher myofibroblastic and immunogenic fibroblasts, and furthermore show increased M2-like macrophages and regulatory T-cells. Contrastingly, patients with ‘normal’ stroma show M1-like recruitment, elevated effector and exhausted T-cells. To aid interoperability of future studies, we provide a pretrained cell type classifier and an atlas of subtype-based signaling factors that we also validate in mouse data. Ultimately, this work leverages the heterogeneity among single-cell studies to create a comprehensive view of the orchestra of signaling interactions governing PDAC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5226
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Springer Nature Limited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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