Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is highly heterogeneous and lethal. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are an important class of genes regulating tumorigenesis and progression. Prior bulk transcriptomic studies in PDAC have revealed the dysregulation of lncRNAs but lack single-cell resolution to distinguish lncRNAs in tumor-intrinsic biology and the tumor microenvironment (TME). We analyzed single-cell transcriptome data from 73 multiregion samples in 21 PDAC patients to evaluate lncRNAs associated with intratumoral heterogeneity and the TME in PDAC. We found 111 cell-specific lncRNAs that reflected tumor, immune and stromal cell contributions, associated with outcomes, and validated across orthogonal datasets. Single-cell analysis of tumor cells revealed lncRNAs associated with TP53 mutations and FOLFIRINOX treatment that were obscured in bulk tumor analysis. Lastly, tumor subcluster analysis revealed widespread intratumor heterogeneity and intratumoral lncRNAs associated with cancer hallmarks and tumor processes such as angiogenesis, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, metabolism and immune signaling. Intratumoral subclusters and lncRNAs were validated across six datasets and showed clinically relevant associations with patient outcomes. Our study provides the first comprehensive assessment of the lncRNA landscape in PDAC using single-cell transcriptomic data and can serve as a resource, PDACLncDB (accessible at https://www.maherlab.com/pdaclncdb-overview), to guide future functional studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberzcad055
JournalNAR Cancer
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Single-cell transcriptomics reveals long noncoding RNAs associated with tumor biology and the microenvironment in pancreatic cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this