Molecular portraits of major morphological components of colon tumors
Intra-tumor heterogeneity (ITH) is a major hurdle towards designing and selecting effective therapies and constitutes probably one of the main sources of treatment resistance. In this project we will investigate the ITH from a transcriptomics perspective by analyzing the spatial variability of whole-genome expression profiles within stage II-III primary colon tumors. Expression profiles extracted from morphologically well-defined regions within tumors will be used for building characteristic molecular portraits and for studying the stability of current prognostic gene signatures and consensus molecular subtype (CMS) classifiers. By anchoring the RNA extraction to clear tissue architecture landmarks, we improve the reproducibility of expression profiling and, thus, of expression-based prognostic signatures and classifiers. Additionally, these data will allow bioinformatic analyses for expression signal decomposition into individual components related to specific morphologies.