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Don’t miss our latest Spatial webinar with Nanostring on May 24 at 8AM PST/11AM EST!

Precise mechanism-based gene expression signatures (GES) have been developed in appropriate in vitro and in vivo model systems to identify important cancer-related signaling processes. However, some GESs originally developed to represent specific disease processes, primarily with an epithelial cell focus, are being applied to heterogeneous tumor samples where the expression of the genes in the signature may no longer be epithelial-specific. Therefore, unknowingly, even small changes in tumor stroma percentage can directly influence GESs, undermining the intended mechanistic signaling.

Using colorectal cancer as an example, we deployed numerous orthogonal profiling methodologies, including laser capture microdissection, flow cytometry, bulk and multiregional biopsy clinical samples, single-cell RNA sequencing and finally spatial transcriptomics, to perform a comprehensive assessment of whether GESs are confounded by stromal content in tumor tissue. Findings in this webinar demonstrate the clear potential for misinterpretation of the meaning of GESs, due to widespread stromal influences, which in-turn can undermine faithful alignment between clinical samples and preclinical data/models, particularly cell lines and organoids, or tumor models not fully recapitulating the stromal and immune microenvironment.


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