Glioblastomas (GBMs) account for nearly half of all primary malignant brain tumours, and current therapies are often only marginally effective. Our understanding of the underlying biology of these tumours and the development of new therapies have been complicated in part by widespread inter- and intratumoural heterogeneity. To characterize this heterogeneity, we performed regional subsampling of primary glioblastomas and derived organoids from these tissue samples. We then performed single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) on these primary regional subsamples and 1-3 matched organoids per sample. We have profiled samples from six tumour sets to date and have obtained sequencing data for 21,234 primary tissue cells and 14,742 organoid cells. While the most apparent differences in gene expression appear to be between individual tumours, we were also able to identify similar cellular subpopulations across tissue samples and across organoids. Importantly, organoids derived from the same tissue sample appeared to be composed of similar cellular subpopulations and were highly comparable to each other, indicating that replicate organoids faithfully represent the original tumour tissue. Overall, our scRNA-seq approach will help evaluate the utility of tumour-derived organoids as model systems for GBM and will aid in identifying cellular subpopulations defined by gene expression patterns, both in primary GBM regional subsamples and their associated organoids. These analyses will allow for the characterization of clonal or subclonal populations that are likely to respond to different therapeutic approaches and may also uncover novel therapeutic targets previously unrevealed through bulk analyses.
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