Accurate prediction of chemo- or targeted therapy responses for patients with similar driver oncogenes through a simple and least-invasive assay represents an unmet need in the clinical diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer. Using a single-cell on-chip metabolic cytometry and fluorescent metabolic probes, we show metabolic phenotyping on the rare disseminated tumor cells in pleural effusions across a panel of 32 lung adenocarcinoma patients. Our results reveal extensive metabolic heterogeneity of tumor cells that differentially engage in glycolysis and mitochondrial oxidation. The cell number ratio of the two metabolic phenotypes is found to be predictive for patient therapy response, physiological performance, and survival. Transcriptome analysis reveals that the glycolytic phenotype is associated with mesenchymal-like cell state with elevated expression of the resistant-leading receptor tyrosine kinase AXL and immune checkpoint ligands. Drug targeting AXL induces a significant cell killing in the glycolytic cells without affecting the cells with active mitochondrial oxidation.
Institute for Systems Biology
Li, Ziming; Wang, Zhuo; Tang, Yin; Lu, Xiang; Chen, Jie; Dong, Yu; Wu, Baojun; Wang, Chunying; Yang, Liu; Guo, Zhili; Xue, Min; Lu, Shun; Wei, Wei; and Shi, Qihui, "Liquid biopsy-based single-cell metabolic phenotyping of lung cancer patients for informative diagnostics." (2019). Articles, Abstracts, and Reports. 2047.