American Association for Cancer Research
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Figure 1 from Patterns of Oncogene Coexpression at Single-Cell Resolution Influence Survival in Lymphoma

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posted on 2023-05-04, 08:20 authored by Michal Marek Hoppe, Patrick Jaynes, Fan Shuangyi, Yanfen Peng, Shruti Sridhar, Phuong Mai Hoang, Clementine Xin Liu, Sanjay De Mel, Limei Poon, Esther Hian Li Chan, Joanne Lee, Choon Kiat Ong, Tiffany Tang, Soon Thye Lim, Chandramouli Nagarajan, Nicholas F. Grigoropoulos, Soo-Yong Tan, Susan Swee-Shan Hue, Sheng-Tsung Chang, Shih-Sung Chuang, Shaoying Li, Joseph D. Khoury, Hyungwon Choi, Carl Harris, Alessia Bottos, Laura J. Gay, Hendrik F.P. Runge, Ilias Moutsopoulos, Irina Mohorianu, Daniel J. Hodson, Pedro Farinha, Anja Mottok, David W. Scott, Jason J. Pitt, Jinmiao Chen, Gayatri Kumar, Kasthuri Kannan, Wee Joo Chng, Yen Lin Chee, Siok-Bian Ng, Claudio Tripodo, Anand D. Jeyasekharan

Quantitative single-cell analysis of MYC, BCL2, and BCL6 protein expression in B cells in nonmalignant tissues and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. A, Schematic workflow of a quantitative digital pathology experiment. B, Spectrally unmixed multiplexed fluorescent images for CD20, MYC, BCL2, and BCL6 and nuclear counterstaining in tonsil tissue. The germinal center (GC) and extragerminal center (extra-GC) zones are indicated. C, Spatial map of MYC/BCL2/BCL6 subpopulations, i.e., possible permutations of MYC/BCL2/BCL6-positivity and -negativity within the CD20-positive cell population in a tonsil image. D, Quantitation of subpopulation extent within CD20-positive cells in tonsils and reactive lymph nodes resolved spatially between the GC and extra-GC zones. E, Example of pseudocolored MYC/BCL2/BCL6/CD20 mfIHC staining in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL; left). Cell segmentation and single oncogene positivity masks are shown within the CD20-positive cell population (right). F, Summary of percentage extent of subpopulations across patients from National University Hospital (NUH), Chi-Mei Medical Center (CMMC), MD Anderson (MDA), and Singapore General Hospital (SGH). Relevant clinicopathologic features are indicated; see also Supplementary Fig. S3. Patients were ordered arbitrarily according to extent of the triple-positive M+2+6+ subpopulation extent. IPI Risk Group, International Prognostic Index Risk Group; FISH, fluorescence in situ hybridization. G, Intrapatient spatial stability of subpopulations – proportion of subpopulations measured across four spatially distinct biopsies from the same patient (rows). Biopsy comparison overview is shown across 11 representative example DLBCL patients (columns). See also Supplementary Fig. S4A and S4B for a correlation analysis for all patients with multiple biopsies available. H, Proliferation analysis (i.e., Ki-67-positivity) among subpopulations in DLBCL samples. Proliferative BCL6-positive subpopulations are grouped. Median with interquartile range, whiskers denote 10th and 90th percentile. Mann–Whitney test (BCL6-positive vs. -negative subpopulations). All scale bars, 100 μm.


National Medical Research Council (NMRC)

National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF)

Singapore Ministry of Education

NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre (NIHR Cambridge BRC)

Cancer Research UK (CRUK)

Wellcome Trust (WT)

CRUK and EPSRC Cancer Imaging Centre in Cambridge and Manchester (CRUK & EPSRC Cancer Imaging Centre in Cambridge and Manchester)

Italian Foundation for Cancer Research (AIRC)



Cancers often overexpress multiple clinically relevant oncogenes, but it is not known if combinations of oncogenes in cellular subpopulations within a cancer influence clinical outcomes. Using quantitative multispectral imaging of the prognostically relevant oncogenes MYC, BCL2, and BCL6 in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), we show that the percentage of cells with a unique combination MYC+BCL2+BCL6− (M+2+6−) consistently predicts survival across four independent cohorts (n = 449), an effect not observed with other combinations including M+2+6+. We show that the M+2+6− percentage can be mathematically derived from quantitative measurements of the individual oncogenes and correlates with survival in IHC (n = 316) and gene expression (n = 2,521) datasets. Comparative bulk/single-cell transcriptomic analyses of DLBCL samples and MYC/BCL2/BCL6-transformed primary B cells identify molecular features, including cyclin D2 and PI3K/AKT as candidate regulators of M+2+6− unfavorable biology. Similar analyses evaluating oncogenic combinations at single-cell resolution in other cancers may facilitate an understanding of cancer evolution and therapy resistance. Using single-cell–resolved multiplexed imaging, we show that selected subpopulations of cells expressing specific combinations of oncogenes influence clinical outcomes in lymphoma. We describe a probabilistic metric for the estimation of cellular oncogenic coexpression from IHC or bulk transcriptomes, with possible implications for prognostication and therapeutic target discovery in cancer.This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 1027

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