Patients with colorectal liver metastasis (CLM) present with heterogenous clinical outcomes and improved classification is needed to ameliorate the therapeutic output. Macrophages (Mϕ) hold promise as prognostic classifiers and therapeutic targets. Here, stemming from a single-cell analysis of mononuclear phagocytes infiltrating human CLM, we identified two Mϕ markers associated with distinct populations with opposite clinical relevance. The invasive margin of CLM was enriched in pro-inflammatory monocyte-derived Mϕ (MoMϕ) expressing the monocytic marker SERPINB2, and a more differentiated population, tumor-associated Mϕ (TAM), expressing glycoprotein nonmetastatic melanoma protein B (GPNMB). SERPINB2+ MoMϕ had an early inflammatory profile, whereas GPNMB+ TAMs were enriched in pathways of matrix degradation, angiogenesis, and lipid metabolism and were found closer to the tumor margin, as confirmed by spatial transcriptomics on CLM specimens. In a cohort of patients, a high infiltration of SERPINB2+ cells independently associated with longer disease-free survival (DFS; P = 0.033), whereas a high density of GPNMB+ cells correlated with shorter DFS (P = 0.012) and overall survival (P = 0.002). Cell–cell interaction analysis defined opposing roles for MoMϕ and TAMs, suggesting that SERPINB2+ and GPNMB+ cells are discrete populations of Mϕ and may be exploited for further translation to an immune-based stratification tool. This study provides evidence of how multi-omics approaches can identify nonredundant, clinically relevant markers for further translation to immune-based patient stratification tools and therapeutic targets. GPNMB has been shown to set Mϕ in an immunosuppressive mode. Our high dimensional analyses provide further evidence that GPNMB is a negative prognostic indicator and a potential player in the protumor function of Mϕ populations.

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