Nevin Manimala Statistics

Quantifying heterogeneity to drug response in cancer-stroma kinetics

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Mar 14;120(11):e2122352120. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2122352120. Epub 2023 Mar 10.


A crucial challenge in medicine is choosing which drug (or combination) will be the most advantageous for a particular patient. Usually, drug response rates differ substantially, and the reasons for this response unpredictability remain ambiguous. Consequently, it is central to classify features that contribute to the observed drug response variability. Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers with limited therapeutic achievements due to the massive presence of stroma that generates an environment that enables tumor growth, metastasis, and drug resistance. To understand the cancer-stroma cross talk within the tumor microenvironment and to develop personalized adjuvant therapies, there is a necessity for effective approaches that offer measurable data to monitor the effect of drugs at the single-cell level. Here, we develop a computational approach, based on cell imaging, that quantifies the cellular cross talk between pancreatic tumor cells (L3.6pl or AsPC1) and pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs), coordinating their kinetics in presence of the chemotherapeutic agent gemcitabine. We report significant heterogeneity in the organization of cellular interactions in response to the drug. For L3.6pl cells, gemcitabine sensibly decreases stroma-stroma interactions but increases stroma-cancer interactions, overall enhancing motility and crowding. In the AsPC1 case, gemcitabine promotes the interactions among tumor cells, but it does not affect stroma-cancer interplay, possibly suggesting a milder effect of the drug on cell dynamics.

PMID:36897966 | DOI:10.1073/pnas.2122352120

By Nevin Manimala

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