Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Original research
Topological analysis of hepatocellular carcinoma tumour microenvironment based on imaging mass cytometry reveals cellular neighbourhood regulated reversely by macrophages with different ontogeny
  1. Jianpeng Sheng1,2,3,
  2. Junlei Zhang1,2,
  3. Lin Wang2,
  4. Vincent Tano4,
  5. Jianghui Tang1,2,
  6. Xun Wang1,2,
  7. Jiangchao Wu1,2,
  8. Jinyuan Song1,2,
  9. Yaxing Zhao2,
  10. Jingxia Rong2,
  11. Fei Cheng5,
  12. Jianfeng Wang1,2,
  13. Yinan Shen1,2,
  14. Liang Wen1,2,
  15. Junjun He2,
  16. Hui Zhang2,
  17. Taohong Li2,
  18. Qi Zhang1,2,3,
  19. Xueli Bai1,2,3,
  20. Zhimin Lu1,3,6,
  21. Tingbo Liang1,2,3
  1. 1Department of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery, Zhejiang University School of Medicine First Affiliated Hospital, Hangzhou, China
  2. 2Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Pancreatic Disease, Zhejiang University School of Medicine First Affiliated Hospital, Hangzhou, China
  3. 3Zhejiang University Cancer Center, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, People's Republic of China
  4. 4Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  5. 5Pathology Department, Zhejiang University School of Medicine First Affiliated Hospital, Hangzhou, China
  6. 6Institue of Translational Medicine, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China
  1. Correspondence to Professor Tingbo Liang, Department of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery, Zhejiang University School of Medicine First Affiliated Hospital, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China; liangtingbo{at}zju.edu.cn

Abstract

Objective Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tumour microenvironment (TME) is highly complex with diverse cellular components organising into various functional units, cellular neighbourhoods (CNs). And we wanted to define CN of HCC while preserving the TME architecture, based on which, potential targets for novel immunotherapy could be identified.

Design A highly multiplexed imaging mass cytometry (IMC) panel was designed to simultaneously quantify 36 biomarkers of tissues from 134 patients with HCC and 7 healthy donors to generate 562 highly multiplexed histology images at single-cell resolution. Different function units were defined by topological analysis of TME. CN relevant to the patients’ prognosis was identified as specific target for HCC therapy. Transgenic mouse models were used to validate the novel immunotherapy target for HCC.

Results Three major types of intratumour areas with distinct distribution patterns of tumorous, stromal and immune cells were identified. 22 cellular metaclusters and 16 CN were defined. CN composed of various types of cells formed regional function units and the regional immunity was regulated reversely by resident Kupffer cells and infiltrating macrophages with protumour and antitumour function, respectively. Depletion of Kupffer cells in mouse liver largely enhances the T cell response, reduces liver tumour growth and sensitises the tumour response to antiprogrammed cell death protein-1 treatment.

Conclusion Our findings reveal for the first time the various topological function units of HCC TME, which also presents the largest depository of pathological landscape for HCC. This work highlights the potential of Kupffer cell-specific targeting rather than overall myeloid cell blocking as a novel immunotherapy for HCC treatment.

  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • immunotherapy
  • macrophages

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. Data relevant to this study are included in the supplementary information. The raw data are available on reasonable request. Please contact corresponding author, Professor Tingbo Liang, email: liangtingbo@zju.edu.cn.

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. Data relevant to this study are included in the supplementary information. The raw data are available on reasonable request. Please contact corresponding author, Professor Tingbo Liang, email: liangtingbo@zju.edu.cn.

View Full Text

Footnotes

  • JS and JZ contributed equally.

  • Contributors Conceptualisation: Jianpeng Sheng and Tingbo Liang. Methodology: Jianpeng Sheng, Junlei Zhang, Jianghui Tang, Xun Wang, Jiangchao Wu, Jinyuan Song, Yinan Shen, Hui Zhang, Taohong Li and Liang Wen. IMC panel: Jianpeng Sheng, Junlei Zhang and Qi Zhang. Patient sample isolation: Jianfeng Wang, Xueli Bai and Tingbo Liang. Hyperion operation: Jingxia Rong and Yaxing Zhao. Pathological support: Fei Chen. Data analysis: Jianpeng Sheng and Junlei Zhang. Bioinformatic analysis: Lin Wang and Yaxing Zhao. Writing: Jianpeng Sheng, Junlei Zhang and Tingbo Liang. Editing: Jianpeng Sheng, Xueli Bai, Zhimin Lu and Tingbo Liang. Supervision: Jianpeng Sheng and Tingbo Liang. Funding acquisition: Jianpeng Sheng, Qi Zhang, Xueli Bai and Tiangbo Liang.

  • Funding This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (grant 2019YFA0803000 to Jianpeng Sheng), the National Key Research and Development Program (grant 2019YFC1316000 to Tingbo Liang), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant 81871925 to Xueli Bai), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (grant 2020YFA0804300 to Qi Zhang) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant U20A20378 to Tingbo Liang).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.