A Comprehensive Overview of RNA Deconvolution Methods and Their Application

Yebin Im, Yongsoo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveyAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Tumors are surrounded by a variety of tumor microenvironmental cells. Profiling individual cells within the tumor tissues is crucial to characterize the tumor microenvironment and its therapeutic implications. Since single-cell technologies are still not cost-effective, scientists have developed many statistical deconvolution methods to delineate cellular characteristics from bulk transcriptome data. Here, we present an overview of 20 deconvolution techniques, including cutting-edge techniques recently established. We categorized deconvolution techniques by three primary criteria: characteristics of methodology, use of prior knowledge of cell types and outcome of the methods. We highlighted the advantage of the recent deconvolution tools that are based on probabilistic models. Moreover, we illustrated two scenarios of the common application of deconvolution methods to study tumor microenvironments. This comprehensive review will serve as a guideline for the researchers to select the appropriate method for their application of deconvolution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-105
Number of pages7
JournalMolecules and Cells
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2023


  • statistical deconvolution
  • tumor microenvironment

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