Gastric cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths, but analysis of its molecular and clinical characteristics has been complicated by histological and aetiological heterogeneity. Here we describe a comprehensive molecular evaluation of 295 primary gastric adenocarcinomas as part of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project. We propose a molecular classification dividing gastric cancer into four subtypes: tumours positive for Epstein–Barr virus, which display recurrent PIK3CA mutations, extreme DNA hypermethylation, and amplification of JAK2, CD274 (also known as PD-L1) and PDCD1LG2 (also knownasPD-L2); microsatellite unstable tumours, which show elevated mutation rates, including mutations of genes encoding targetable oncogenic signalling proteins; genomically stable tumours, which are enriched for the diffuse histological variant and mutations of RHOA or fusions involving RHO-family GTPase-activating proteins; and tumours with chromosomal instability, which show marked aneuploidy and focal amplification of receptor tyrosine kinases. Identification of these subtypes provides a roadmap for patient stratification and trials of targeted therapies.
Genome wide association studies (GWAS) for fasting glucose (FG) and insulin (FI) have identified common variant signals which explain 4.8% and 1.2% of trait variance, respectively. It is hypothesized that low-frequency and rare variants could contribute substantially to unexplained genetic variance. To test this, we analyzed exome-array data from up to 33,231 non-diabetic individuals of European ancestry. We found exome-wide significant (P<5×10-7) evidence for two loci not previously highlighted by common variant GWAS: GLP1R (p.Ala316Thr, minor allele frequency (MAF)=1.5%) influencing FG levels, and URB2 (p.Glu594Val, MAF = 0.1%) influencing FI levels. Coding variant associations can highlight potential effector genes at (non-coding) GWAS signals. At the G6PC2/ABCB11 locus, we identified multiple coding variants in G6PC2 (p.Val219Leu, p.His177Tyr, and p.Tyr207Ser) influencing FG levels, conditionally independent of each other and the non-coding GWAS signal. In vitro assays demonstrate that these associated coding alleles result in reduced protein abundance via proteasomal degradation, establishing G6PC2 as an effector gene at this locus. Reconciliation of single-variant associations and functional effects was only possible when haplotype phase was considered. In contrast to earlier reports suggesting that, paradoxically, glucose-raising alleles at this locus are protective against type 2 diabetes (T2D), the p.Val219Leu G6PC2 variant displayed a modest but directionally consistent association with T2D risk. Coding variant associations for glycemic traits in GWAS signals highlight PCSK1, RREB1, and ZHX3 as likely effector transcripts. These coding variant association signals do not have a major impact on the trait variance explained, but they do provide valuable biological insights.
Understanding how FI and FG levels are regulated is important because their derangement is a feature of T2D. Despite recent success from GWAS in identifying regions of the genome influencing glycemic traits, collectively these loci explain only a small proportion of trait variance. Unlocking the biological mechanisms driving these associations has been challenging because the vast majority of variants map to non-coding sequence, and the genes through which they exert their impact are largely unknown. In the current study, we sought to increase our understanding of the physiological pathways influencing both traits using exome-array genotyping in up to 33,231 non-diabetic individuals to identify coding variants and consequently genes associated with either FG or FI levels. We identified novel association signals for both traits including the receptor for GLP-1 agonists which are a widely used therapy for T2D. Furthermore, we identified coding variants at several GWAS loci which point to the genes underlying these association signals. Importantly, we found that multiple coding variants in G6PC2 result in a loss of protein function and lower fasting glucose levels.
Translating whole exome sequencing (WES) for prospective clinical use may impact the care of cancer patients; however, multiple innovations are necessary for clinical implementation. These include: (1) rapid and robust WES from formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tumor tissue, (2) analytical output similar to data from frozen samples, and (3) clinical interpretation of WES data for prospective use. Here, we describe a prospective clinical WES platform for archival FFPE tumor samples. The platform employs computational methods for effective clinical analysis and interpretation of WES data. When applied retrospectively to 511 exomes, the interpretative framework revealed a “long tail” of somatic alterations in clinically important genes. Prospective application of this approach identified clinically relevant alterations in 15/16 patients. In one patient, previously undetected findings guided clinical trial enrollment leading to an objective clinical response. Overall, this methodology may inform the widespread implementation of precision cancer medicine.
This unit describes how to use BWA and the Genome Analysis Toolkit (GATK)
to map genome sequencing data to a reference and produce high-quality variant
calls that can be used in downstream analyses. The complete workflow includes
the core NGS data processing steps that are necessary to make the raw data
suitable for analysis by the GATK, as well as the key methods involved in
variant discovery using the GATK.
NGS; WGS; exome; variant detection; genotyping
Understanding the genetic mechanisms of sensitivity to targeted anticancer therapies may improve patient selection, response to therapy, and rational treatment designs. One approach to increase this understanding involves detailed studies of exceptional responders: rare patients with unexpected exquisite sensitivity or durable responses to therapy. We identified an exceptional responder in a phase I study of pazopanib and everolimus in advanced solid tumors. Whole exome sequencing of a patient with a 14-month complete response on this trial revealed two simultaneous mutations in mTOR, the target of everolimus. In vitro experiments demonstrate that both mutations are activating, suggesting a biological mechanism for exquisite sensitivity to everolimus in this patient. The use of precision (or “personalized”) medicine approaches to screen cancer patients for alterations in the mTOR pathway may help to identify subsets of patients who may benefit from targeted therapies directed against mTOR.
We describe the landscape of somatic genomic alterations based on multi-dimensional and comprehensive characterization of more than 500 glioblastoma tumors (GBMs). We identify several novel mutated genes as well as complex rearrangements of signature receptors including EGFR and PDGFRA. TERT promoter mutations are shown to correlate with elevated mRNA expression, supporting a role in telomerase reactivation. Correlative analyses confirm that the survival advantage of the proneural subtype is conferred by the G-CIMP phenotype, and MGMT DNA methylation may be a predictive biomarker for treatment response only in classical subtype GBM. Integrative analysis of genomic and proteomic profiles challenges the notion of therapeutic inhibition of a pathway as an alternative to inhibition of the target itself. These data will facilitate the discovery of therapeutic and diagnostic target candidates, the validation of research and clinical observations and the generation of unanticipated hypotheses that can advance our molecular understanding of this lethal cancer.
Joubert syndrome and related disorders (JSRD) are clinically and genetically heterogeneous ciliopathies sharing a peculiar midbrain–hindbrain malformation known as the ‘molar tooth sign'. To date, 19 causative genes have been identified, all coding for proteins of the primary cilium. There is clinical and genetic overlap with other ciliopathies, in particular with Meckel syndrome (MKS), that is allelic to JSRD at nine distinct loci. We previously identified the INPP5E gene as causative of JSRD in seven families linked to the JBTS1 locus, yet the phenotypic spectrum and prevalence of INPP5E mutations in JSRD and MKS remain largely unknown. To address this issue, we performed INPP5E mutation analysis in 483 probands, including 408 JSRD patients representative of all clinical subgroups and 75 MKS fetuses. We identified 12 different mutations in 17 probands from 11 JSRD families, with an overall 2.7% mutation frequency among JSRD. The most common clinical presentation among mutated families (7/11, 64%) was Joubert syndrome with ocular involvement (either progressive retinopathy and/or colobomas), while the remaining cases had pure JS. Kidney, liver and skeletal involvement were not observed. None of the MKS fetuses carried INPP5E mutations, indicating that the two ciliopathies are not allelic at this locus.
INPP5E; Joubert syndrome and related disorders; Meckel syndrome; ciliopathies
Cervical cancer is responsible for 10–15% of cancer-related deaths in women worldwide1,2. The etiological role of infection with high-risk human papilloma viruses (HPV) in cervical carcinomas is well established3. Previous studies have implicated somatic mutations in PIK3CA, PTEN, TP53, STK11 and KRAS4–7 as well as several copy number alterations in the pathogenesis of cervical carcinomas8,9. Here, we report whole exome sequencing analysis of 115 cervical carcinoma-normal paired samples, transcriptome sequencing of 79 cases and whole genome sequencing of 14 tumor-normal pairs. Novel somatic mutations in 79 primary squamous cell carcinomas include recurrent E322K substitutions in the MAPK1 gene (8%), inactivating mutations in the HLA-B gene (9%), and mutations in EP300 (16%), FBXW7 (15%), NFE2L2 (4%) TP53 (5%) and ERBB2 (6%). We also observed somatic ELF3 (13%) and CBFB (8%) mutations in 24 adenocarcinomas. Squamous cell carcinomas had higher frequencies of somatic mutations in the Tp*C dinucleotide context than adenocarcinomas. Gene expression levels at HPV integration sites were significantly higher in tumors with HPV integration compared with expression of the same genes in tumors without viral integration at the same site. These data demonstrate several recurrent genomic alterations in cervical carcinomas that suggest novel strategies to combat this disease.
Breast carcinoma is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in women worldwide with an estimated 1.38 million new cases and 458,000 deaths in 2008 alone1. This malignancy represents a heterogeneous group of tumours with characteristic molecular features, prognosis, and responses to available therapy2–4. Recurrent somatic alterations in breast cancer have been described including mutations and copy number alterations, notably ERBB2 amplifications, the first successful therapy target defined by a genomic aberration5. Prior DNA sequencing studies of breast cancer genomes have revealed additional candidate mutations and gene rearrangements 6–10. Here we report the whole-exome sequences of DNA from 103 human breast cancers of diverse subtypes from patients in Mexico and Vietnam compared to matched-normal DNA, together with whole-genome sequences of 22 breast cancer/normal pairs. Beyond confirming recurrent somatic mutations in PIK3CA11, TP536, AKT112, GATA313, and MAP3K110, we discovered recurrent mutations in the CBFB transcription factor gene and deletions of its partner RUNX1. Furthermore, we have identified a recurrent MAGI3-AKT3 fusion enriched in triple-negative breast cancer lacking estrogen and progesterone receptors and ERBB2 expression. The Magi3-Akt3 fusion leads to constitutive activation of Akt kinase, which is abolished by treatment with an ATP-competitive Akt small-molecule inhibitor.
By analyzing the exome sequences of 2,536 schizophrenia cases and 2,543 controls, we have demonstrated a polygenic burden primarily arising from rare (<1/10,000), disruptive mutations distributed across many genes. Especially enriched genesets included the voltage-gated calcium ion channel and the signaling complex formed by the activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated (ARC) scaffold protein of the postsynaptic density (PSD), sets previously implicated by genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and copy-number variation (CNV) studies. Similar to reports in autism, targets of the fragile × mental retardation protein (FMRP, product of FMR1) were enriched for case mutations. No individual gene-based test achieved significance after correction for multiple testing and we did not detect any alleles of moderately low frequency (~0.5-1%) and moderately large effect. Taken together, these data suggest that population-based exome sequencing can discover risk alleles and complements established gene mapping paradigms in neuropsychiatric disease.
In familial hypobetalipoproteinemia (FHBL), fatty liver is a characteristic feature, and there are several reports of associated cirrhosis and hepatocarcinoma. We investigated a large kindred in which low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, fatty liver and hepatocarcinoma displayed an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance.
Approach and Results
The proband was a 25 year-old female with low plasma cholesterol and hepatic steatosis. Low plasma levels of total cholesterol and fatty liver were observed in 10 more family members; 1 member was affected by liver cirrhosis and four more subjects died of either hepatocarcinoma or carcinoma on cirrhosis. To identify the causal mutation in this family, we performed exome sequencing in two participants with hypocholesterolemia and fatty liver. Approximately 22,400 single nucleotide variants were identified in each sample. After variant filtering, 300 novel shared variants remained. A nonsense variant, p.K2240X due to an A>T mutation in exon 26 of APOB (c.6718A>T) was identified and this variant was confirmed by Sanger sequencing. The gentotypic analysis of 16 family members in total showed that this mutation segregated with the low cholesterol trait. In addition, genotyping of the PNPLA3 p.I148M did not show significant frequency differences between carriers and non-carriers of the c.6718A>T APOB gene mutation.
We used exome sequencing to discover a novel nonsense mutation in exon 26 of APOB (p.K2240X) responsible for low cholesterol and fatty liver in a large kindred.
This mutation may also be responsible for cirrhosis and liver cancer in this family.
Exome sequencing; FHBL; fatty liver; Hepatocarcinoma
Exome sequencing studies in complex diseases are challenged by the allelic heterogeneity, large number and modest effect sizes of associated variants on disease risk and the presence of large numbers of neutral variants, even in phenotypically relevant genes. Isolated populations with recent bottlenecks offer advantages for studying rare variants in complex diseases as they have deleterious variants that are present at higher frequencies as well as a substantial reduction in rare neutral variation. To explore the potential of the Finnish founder population for studying low-frequency (0.5–5%) variants in complex diseases, we compared exome sequence data on 3,000 Finns to the same number of non-Finnish Europeans and discovered that, despite having fewer variable sites overall, the average Finn has more low-frequency loss-of-function variants and complete gene knockouts. We then used several well-characterized Finnish population cohorts to study the phenotypic effects of 83 enriched loss-of-function variants across 60 phenotypes in 36,262 Finns. Using a deep set of quantitative traits collected on these cohorts, we show 5 associations (p<5×10−8) including splice variants in LPA that lowered plasma lipoprotein(a) levels (P = 1.5×10−117). Through accessing the national medical records of these participants, we evaluate the LPA finding via Mendelian randomization and confirm that these splice variants confer protection from cardiovascular disease (OR = 0.84, P = 3×10−4), demonstrating for the first time the correlation between very low levels of LPA in humans with potential therapeutic implications for cardiovascular diseases. More generally, this study articulates substantial advantages for studying the role of rare variation in complex phenotypes in founder populations like the Finns and by combining a unique population genetic history with data from large population cohorts and centralized research access to National Health Registers.
We explored the coding regions of 3,000 Finnish individuals with 3,000 non-Finnish Europeans (NFEs) using whole-exome sequence data, in order to understand how an individual from a bottlenecked population might differ from an individual from an out-bred population. We provide empirical evidence that there are more rare and low-frequency deleterious alleles in Finns compared to NFEs, such that an average Finn has almost twice as many low-frequency complete knockouts of a gene. As such, we hypothesized that some of these low-frequency loss-of-function variants might have important medical consequences in humans and genotyped 83 of these variants in 36,000 Finns. In doing so, we discovered that completely knocking out the TSFM gene might result in inviability or a very severe phenotype in humans and that knocking out the LPA gene might confer protection against coronary heart diseases, suggesting that LPA is likely to be a good potential therapeutic target.
While a few cancer genes are mutated in a high proportion of tumors of a given type (>20%), most are mutated at intermediate frequencies (2–20%). To explore the feasibility of creating a comprehensive catalog of cancer genes, we analyzed somatic point mutations in exome sequence from 4,742 tumor-normal pairs across 21 cancer types. We found that large-scale genomic analysis can identify nearly all known cancer genes in these tumor types. Our analysis also identified 33 genes not previously known to be significantly mutated, including genes related to proliferation, apoptosis, genome stability, chromatin regulation, immune evasion, RNA processing and protein homeostasis. Down-sampling analysis indicates that larger sample sizes will reveal many more genes, mutated at clinically important frequencies. We estimate that near-saturation may be achieved with 600–5000 samples per tumor type, depending on background mutation rate. The results help guide the next stage of cancer genomics.
Non-coding variants at human chromosome 9p21 near CDKN2A and CDKN2B are associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D)1-4, myocardial infarction (MI)5-7, aneurysm8, vertical cup disc ratio9, and at least five cancers10-16. We compared approaches to more comprehensively assess genetic variation in the region. We performed targeted sequencing at high coverage in 47 individuals and compared the results to pilot data from the 1000 Genomes Project. We imputed variants into T2D and MI cohorts directly from targeted sequencing, from a genotyped reference panel derived from sequencing, and from 1000 Genomes low-coverage data. Common polymorphisms were captured similarly by all strategies. Imputation of intermediate frequency polymorphisms required a higher density of tag SNPs in disease samples than available on first generation Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) arrays. Association analyses identified more comprehensive sets of variants demonstrating equivalent statistical association to T2D or MI, but did not identify stronger associations the original GWAS signals.
Most patients with BRAFV600 metastatic melanoma develop resistance to selective RAF kinase inhibitors. The spectrum of clinical genetic resistance mechanisms to RAF inhibitors and options for salvage therapy are incompletely understood. We performed whole exome sequencing on formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded (FFPE) tumors from 45 patients with BRAFV600 metastatic melanoma who received vemurafenib or dabrafenib monotherapy. Genetic alterations in known or putative RAF inhibitor resistance genes were observed in 23 of 45 patients (51%). Besides previously characterized alterations, we discovered a “long tail” of new MAPK pathway alterations (MAP2K2, MITF) that confer RAF inhibitor resistance. In three cases, multiple resistance gene alterations were observed within the same tumor biopsy. Overall, RAF inhibitor therapy leads to diverse clinical genetic resistance mechanisms, mostly involving MAPK pathway reactivation. Novel therapeutic combinations may be needed to achieve durable clinical control of BRAFV600 melanoma. Integrating clinical genomics with preclinical screens may model subsequent resistance studies.
Melanoma; resistance; RAF; inhibitor; genetic
Treatment of BRAF-mutant melanoma with combined dabrafenib and trametinib, which target RAF and the downstream MEK1 and MEK2 kinases, respectively, improves progression-free survival and response rates compared with dabrafenib monotherapy (1). Mechanisms of clinical resistance to combined RAF/MEK inhibition are unknown. We performed whole exome and transcriptome sequencing on pre-treatment and drug-resistant tumors from five patients with acquired resistance to dabrafenib/trametinib. In three of these patients, we identified additional MAP kinase pathway alterations in the resistant tumor that were not detected in the pre-treatment tumor, including a novel activating mutation in MEK2 (MEK2Q60P). MEK2Q60P conferred resistance to combined RAF/MEK inhibition in vitro, but remained sensitive to inhibition of the downstream kinase ERK. The continued MAP kinase signaling-based resistance identified in these patients suggests that alternative dosing of current agents, more potent RAF/MEK inhibitors, and/or inhibition of the downstream kinase ERK may be needed for durable control of BRAF-mutant melanoma.
Genome sequencing can identify individuals in the general population who harbor rare coding variants in genes for Mendelian disorders1–7 – and who consequently may have increased disease risk. However, previous studies of rare variants in phenotypically extreme individuals have ascertainment bias and may demonstrate inflated effect size estimates8–12. We sequenced seven genes for maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY)13 in well-phenotyped population samples14,15 (n=4,003). Rare variants were filtered according to prediction criteria used to identify disease-causing mutations: i) previously-reported in MODY, and ii) stringent de novo thresholds satisfied (rare, conserved, protein damaging). Approximately 1.5% and 0.5% of randomly selected Framingham and Jackson Heart Study individuals carried variants from these two classes, respectively. However, the vast majority of carriers remained euglycemic through middle age. Accurate estimates of variant effect sizes from population-based sequencing are needed to avoid falsely predicting a significant fraction of individuals as at risk for MODY or other Mendelian diseases.
Loss-of-function mutations protective against human disease provide in vivo validation of therapeutic targets1,2,3, yet none are described for type 2 diabetes (T2D). Through sequencing or genotyping ~150,000 individuals across five ethnicities, we identified 12 rare protein-truncating variants in SLC30A8, which encodes an islet zinc transporter (ZnT8)4 and harbors a common variant (p.Trp325Arg) associated with T2D risk, glucose, and proinsulin levels5–7. Collectively, protein-truncating variant carriers had 65% reduced T2D risk (p=1.7×10−6), and non-diabetic Icelandic carriers of a frameshift variant (p.Lys34SerfsX50) demonstrated reduced glucose levels (−0.17 s.d., p=4.6×10−4). The two most common protein-truncating variants (p.Arg138X and p.Lys34SerfsX50) individually associate with T2D protection and encode unstable ZnT8 proteins. Previous functional study of SLC30A8 suggested reduced zinc transport increases T2D risk8,9, yet phenotypic heterogeneity was observed in rodent Slc30a8 knockouts10–15. Contrastingly, loss-of-function mutations in humans provide strong evidence that SLC30A8 haploinsufficiency protects against T2D, proposing ZnT8 inhibition as a therapeutic strategy in T2D prevention.
Inhibition of the activated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) with either enzymatic kinase inhibitors or anti-EGFR antibodies such as cetuximab, is an effective modality of treatment for multiple human cancers. Enzymatic EGFR inhibitors are effective for lung adenocarcinomas with somatic kinase domain EGFR mutations while, paradoxically, anti-EGFR antibodies are more effective in colon and head and neck cancers where EGFR mutations occur less frequently. In colorectal cancer, anti-EGFR antibodies are routinely used as second-line therapy of KRAS wild-type tumors. However, detailed mechanisms and genomic predictors for pharmacological response to these antibodies in colon cancer remain unclear.
We describe a case of colorectal adenocarcinoma, which was found to harbor a kinase domain mutation, G724S, in EGFR through whole genome sequencing. We show that G724S mutant EGFR is oncogenic and that it differs from classic lung cancer derived EGFR mutants in that it is cetuximab responsive in vitro, yet relatively insensitive to small molecule kinase inhibitors. Through biochemical and cellular pharmacologic studies, we have determined that cells harboring the colon cancer-derived G719S and G724S mutants are responsive to cetuximab therapy in vitro and found that the requirement for asymmetric dimerization of these mutant EGFR to promote cellular transformation may explain their greater inhibition by cetuximab than small-molecule kinase inhibitors.
The colon-cancer derived G719S and G724S mutants are oncogenic and sensitive in vitro to cetuximab. These data suggest that patients with these mutations may benefit from the use of anti-EGFR antibodies as part of the first-line therapy.
Autosomal recessive hypercholesterolemia (ARH) is a rare inherited disorder characterized by extremely high total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels that has been previously linked to mutations in LDLRAP1. We identified a family with ARH not explained by mutations in LDLRAP1 or other genes known to cause monogenic hypercholesterolemia. The aim of this study was to identify the molecular etiology of ARH in this family.
Approach and Results
We used exome sequencing to assess all protein coding regions of the genome in three family members and identified a homozygous exon 8 splice junction mutation (c.894G>A, also known as E8SJM) in LIPA that segregated with the diagnosis of hypercholesterolemia. Since homozygosity for mutations in LIPA is known to cause cholesterol ester storage disease (CESD), we performed directed follow-up phenotyping by non-invasively measuring hepatic cholesterol content. We observed abnormal hepatic accumulation of cholesterol in the homozygote individuals, supporting the diagnosis of CESD. Given previous suggestions of cardiovascular disease risk in heterozygous LIPA mutation carriers, we genotyped E8SJM in >27,000 individuals and found no association with plasma lipid levels or risk of myocardial infarction, confirming a true recessive mode of inheritance.
By integrating observations from Mendelian and population genetics along with directed clinical phenotyping, we diagnosed clinically unapparent CESD in the affected individuals from this kindred and addressed an outstanding question regarding risk of cardiovascular disease in LIPA E8SJM heterozygous carriers.
hypercholesterolemia; genetics; myocardial infarction
Background & Aims
Liver cirrhosis affects 1%–2% of population and is the major risk factor of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Hepatitis C cirrhosis-related HCC is the most rapidly increasing cause of cancer death in the US. Non-invasive methods have been developed to identify patients with asymptomatic, early-stage cirrhosis, increasing the burden of HCC surveillance, but biomarkers are needed to identify patients with cirrhosis who are most in need of surveillance. We investigated whether a liver-derived 186-gene signature previously associated with outcomes of patients with HCC is prognostic for patients newly diagnosed with cirrhosis but without HCC.
We performed gene expression profile analysis of formalin-fixed needle biopsies from the livers of 216 patients with hepatitis C-related early-stage (Child-Pugh class A) cirrhosis who were prospectively followed for a median of 10 years at an Italian center. We evaluated whether the 186-gene signature was associated with death, progression of cirrhosis, and development of HCC.
Fifty-five (25%), 101 (47%), and 60 (28%) patients were classified as having poor-, intermediate-, and good-prognosis signatures, respectively. In multivariable Cox regression modeling, the poor-prognosis signature was significantly associated with death (P=.004), progression to advanced cirrhosis (P<.001), and development of HCC (P=.009). The 10-year rates of survival were 63%, 74%, and 85% and the annual incidences of HCC were 5.8%, 2.2%, and 1.5% for patients with poor-, intermediate-, and good-prognosis signatures, respectively.
A 186-gene signature used to predict outcomes of patients with HCC is also associated with outcomes of patients with hepatitis C-related early-stage cirrhosis. This signature might be used to identify patients with cirrhosis in most need of surveillance and strategies to prevent their development of HCC.
liver cancer prevention; early detection; screening; whole genome gene expression profiling
The analysis of exonic DNA from prostate cancers has identified recurrently mutated genes, but the spectrum of genome-wide alterations has not been profiled extensively in this disease. We sequenced the genomes of 57 prostate tumors and matched normal tissues to characterize somatic alterations and to study how they accumulate during oncogenesis and progression. By modeling the genesis of genomic rearrangements, we identified abundant DNA translocations and deletions that arise in a highly interdependent manner. This phenomenon, which we term “chromoplexy”, frequently accounts for the dysregulation of prostate cancer genes and appears to disrupt multiple cancer genes coordinately. Our modeling suggests that chromoplexy may induce considerable genomic derangement over relatively few events in prostate cancer and other neoplasms, supporting a model of punctuated cancer evolution. By characterizing the clonal hierarchy of genomic lesions in prostate tumors, we charted a path of oncogenic events along which chromoplexy may drive prostate carcinogenesis.
Clonal evolution is a key feature of cancer progression and relapse. We studied intratumoral heterogeneity in 149 chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cases by integrating whole-exome sequence and copy number to measure the fraction of cancer cells harboring each somatic mutation. We identified driver mutations as predominantly clonal (e.g., MYD88, trisomy 12 and del(13q)) or subclonal (e.g., SF3B1, TP53), corresponding to earlier and later events in CLL evolution. We sampled leukemia cells from 18 patients at two timepoints. Ten of 12 CLL cases treated with chemotherapy (but only 1 of 6 without treatment) underwent clonal evolution, predominantly involving subclones with driver mutations (e.g., SF3B1, TP53) that expanded over time. Furthermore, presence of a subclonal driver mutation was an independent risk factor for rapid disease progression. Our study thus uncovers patterns of clonal evolution in CLL, providing insights into its stepwise transformation, and links the presence of subclones with adverse clinical outcome.
Major international projects are now underway aimed at creating a comprehensive catalog of all genes responsible for the initiation and progression of cancer. These studies involve sequencing of matched tumor–normal samples followed by mathematical analysis to identify those genes in which mutations occur more frequently than expected by random chance. Here, we describe a fundamental problem with cancer genome studies: as the sample size increases, the list of putatively significant genes produced by current analytical methods burgeons into the hundreds. The list includes many implausible genes (such as those encoding olfactory receptors and the muscle protein titin), suggesting extensive false positive findings that overshadow true driver events. Here, we show that this problem stems largely from mutational heterogeneity and provide a novel analytical methodology, MutSigCV, for resolving the problem. We apply MutSigCV to exome sequences from 3,083 tumor-normal pairs and discover extraordinary variation in (i) mutation frequency and spectrum within cancer types, which shed light on mutational processes and disease etiology, and (ii) mutation frequency across the genome, which is strongly correlated with DNA replication timing and also with transcriptional activity. By incorporating mutational heterogeneity into the analyses, MutSigCV is able to eliminate most of the apparent artefactual findings and allow true cancer genes to rise to attention.
Purine biosynthesis and metabolism, conserved in all living organisms, is essential for cellular energy homeostasis and nucleic acids synthesis. The de novo synthesis of purine precursors is under tight negative feedback regulation mediated by adenosine and guanine nucleotides. We describe a new distinct early-onset neurodegenerative condition resulting from mutations in the adenosine monophosphate deaminase 2 gene (AMPD2). Patients have characteristic brain imaging features of pontocerebellar hypoplasia (PCH), due to loss of brainstem and cerebellar parenchyma. We found that AMPD2 plays an evolutionary conserved role in the maintenance of cellular guanine nucleotide pools by regulating the feedback inhibition of adenosine derivatives on de novo purine synthesis. AMPD2 deficiency results in defective GTP-dependent initiation of protein translation, which can be rescued by administration of purine precursors. These data suggest AMPD2-related PCH as a new, potentially treatable early-onset neurodegenerative disease.
Purine; pyrimidine; deaminase; salvage; translation; GTP; de novo synthesis; neurodegeneration