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Interactions between cancer cells and immune cells drive transitions to mesenchymal-like states in glioblastoma

Toshiro Hara, Rony Chanoch-Myers, Nathan D. Mathewson, Chad Myskiw, Lyla Atta, Lillian Bussema, Stephen W. Eichhorn, Alissa C. Greenwald, Gabriela S. Kinker, Christopher Rodman, L. Nicolas Gonzalez Castro, Hiroaki Wakimoto, Orit Rozenblatt-Rosen, Xiaowei Zhuang, Jean Fan, Tony Hunter, Inder M. Verma, Kai W. Wucherpfennig, Aviv Regev, Mario L. Suva` & Itay Tirosh
Cancer Cell (2021)

The mesenchymal subtype of glioblastoma is thought to be determined by both cancer cell-intrinsic alterations and extrinsic cellular interactions, but remains poorly understood. Here, we dissect glioblastoma-to-microenvironment interactions by single-cell RNA sequencing analysis of human tumors and model systems, combined with functional experiments. We demonstrate that macrophages induce a transition of glioblastoma cells into mesenchymal-like (MES-like) states. This effect is mediated, both in vitro and in vivo, by macrophage-derived oncostatin M (OSM) that interacts with its receptors (OSMR or LIFR) in complex with GP130 on glioblastoma cells and activates STAT3. We show that MES-like glioblastoma states are also associated with increased expression of a mesenchymal program in macrophages and with increased cytotoxicity of T cells, highlighting extensive alterations of the immune microenvironment with potential therapeutic implications.

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