Translation of single-cell transcriptomic analysis of uveal melanomas to clinical oncology.Prog Retin Eye Res. 2021 Apr 13 [Online ahead of print]PR
Uveal melanoma (UM) is an aggressive and deadly neoplasm. In recent decades, great efforts have been made to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of genetics, genomics and molecular changes in UM, enabling the identification of key cellular processes and signalling pathways. Still, there is no effective treatment for the metastatic disease. Intratumoural heterogeneity (ITH) is thought to be one of the leading determinants of metastasis, therapeutic resistance and recurrence. Crucially, tumours are complex ecosystems, where cancer cells, and diverse cell types from their microenvironment engage in dynamic spatiotemporal crosstalk that allows cancer progression, adaptation and evolution. This highlights the urgent need to gain insight into ITH in UM and its intersection with the microenvironment to overcome treatment failure. Here we provide an overview of the studies and technologies to study ITH in human UMs and tumour micro-environmental composition. We discuss how to incorporate ITH into clinical consideration for the purpose of advocating for new clinical management. We focus on the application of single-cell transcriptomic analysis and propose that understanding the driving forces and functional consequences of the observed tumour heterogeneity holds promise for changing the treatment paradigm of metastatic UMs, surmounting resistance and improving patient prognosis.