The single-cell pathology landscape of breast cancer

Jackson, H.W., Fischer, J.R., Zanotelli, V.R. et al.

Single-cell analyses have revealed extensive heterogeneity between and within human tumours but complex single-cell phenotypes and their spatial context are not at present reflected in the histological stratification that is the foundation of many clinical decisions. Here we use Imaging Mass Cytometry to simultaneously quantify 35 biomarkers, resulting in 720 high-dimensional pathology images of tumour tissue from 352 patients with breast cancer, with long-term survival data available for 281 patients. Spatially resolved, single-cell analysis identified the phenotypes of tumour and stromal single cells, their organization and their heterogeneity, and enabled the cellular architecture of breast cancer tissue to be characterized on the basis of cellular composition and tissue organization. Our analysis reveals multicellular features of the tumour microenvironment and novel subgroups of breast cancer that are associated with distinct clinical outcomes. Thus, spatially resolved, single-cell analysis can characterize intratumour phenotypic heterogeneity in a disease-relevant manner, with the potential to inform patient-specific diagnosis.


Jackson, H.W., Fischer, J.R., Zanotelli, V.R. et al. "The single-cell pathology landscape of breast cancer" Nature (2020): 615-620.