Nat Commun 12 (1) 5309 [2021-09-07; online 2021-09-07]
Childhood neuroblastoma has a remarkable variability in outcome. Age at diagnosis is one of the most important prognostic factors, with children less than 1 year old having favorable outcomes. Here we study single-cell and single-nuclei transcriptomes of neuroblastoma with different clinical risk groups and stages, including healthy adrenal gland. We compare tumor cell populations with embryonic mouse sympatho-adrenal derivatives, and post-natal human adrenal gland. We provide evidence that low and high-risk neuroblastoma have different cell identities, representing two disease entities. Low-risk neuroblastoma presents a transcriptome that resembles sympatho- and chromaffin cells, whereas malignant cells enriched in high-risk neuroblastoma resembles a subtype of TRKB+ cholinergic progenitor population identified in human post-natal gland. Analyses of these populations reveal different gene expression programs for worst and better survival in correlation with age at diagnosis. Our findings reveal two cellular identities and a composition of human neuroblastoma tumors reflecting clinical heterogeneity and outcome.