Microenvironmental Reorganization in Brain Tumors Following Radiotherapy

Credits: S.S. Watson | 2024. Tumor region and surrounding brain cells
Credits: S.S. Watson | 2024. Tumor region and surrounding brain cells

This research explores a new opensource method for high dimensional spatial proteomic imaging of complex tissue samples, revealing disparate spatial reorganization in glioblastoma and brain metastasis following radiotherapy.

Dr. Spencer Watson and colleagues, under the direction of Prof. Johanna Joyce from the Department of oncology UNIL-CHUV and the Lausanne Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, conducted a study * recently published in Nature Communications . This research introduces a specialized imaging technique designed for the complex environment of brain tumors, revealing distinct responses to radiation therapy across various tumor types.

The researchers employed HIFI to study the tumor microenvironmental response to radiotherapy in models of glioblastoma and brain metastasis. Spatial analysis of HIFI data revealed pronounced differences in cellular reorganization in response to radiotherapy between the models. Glioblastomas showed consistent reorganization that resulted in fibrotic niches associated with dormant surviving tumor cells, while brain metastases were found to arrest growth without any major structural changes. Moreover, these results indicate that fibrotic spatial niches formed in response to treatment can serve as locally protective environments for glioma cells to survive treatment.

This work was made possible largely by ’team science’. The lead authors were involved in a large international consortium funded by the Cancer Research UK Cancer Grand Challenge (Team iMAXT). The HIFI project was born out of engaging with the broader cancer research community, and a desire to find a better way to solve the challenges they faced together. This grassroots initiative brought together a team of highly motivated international experts to collaborate and build a powerful platform that is accessible to the entire community.

* Microenvironmental reorganization in brain tumors following radiotherapy and recurrence revealed by hyperplexed immunofluorescence imaging

Published from 16 April 2024 to 16 May 2024
by Carine Dournes Söhnlein (DO UNIL-CHUV communication)