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UNLABELLED: Cancer initiation is orchestrated by an interplay between tumor-initiating cells and their stromal/immune environment. Here, by adapted single-cell RNA sequencing, we decipher the predicted signaling between tissue-resident hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPC) and their neoplastic counterparts with their native niches in the human bone marrow. LEPR+ stromal cells are identified as central regulators of hematopoiesis through predicted interactions with all cells in the marrow. Inflammatory niche remodeling and the resulting deprivation of critical HSPC regulatory factors are predicted to repress high-output hematopoietic stem cell subsets in NPM1-mutated acute myeloid leukemia (AML), with relative resistance of clonal cells. Stromal gene signatures reflective of niche remodeling are associated with reduced relapse rates and favorable outcomes after chemotherapy across all genetic risk categories. Elucidation of the intercellular signaling defining human AML, thus, predicts that inflammatory remodeling of stem cell niches drives tissue repression and clonal selection but may pose a vulnerability for relapse-initiating cells in the context of chemotherapeutic treatment. SIGNIFICANCE: Tumor-promoting inflammation is considered an enabling characteristic of tumorigenesis, but mechanisms remain incompletely understood. By deciphering the predicted signaling between tissue-resident stem cells and their neoplastic counterparts with their environment, we identify inflammatory remodeling of stromal niches as a determinant of normal tissue repression and clinical outcomes in human AML. See related commentary by Lisi-Vega and Méndez-Ferrer, p. 349. This article is featured in Selected Articles from This Issue, p. 337.

Original publication




Journal article


Blood Cancer Discov

Publication Date





394 - 417


Humans, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Bone Marrow, Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute, Hematopoiesis, Stromal Cells