More than 3.5 million non-melanoma skin cancers were treated in 2006; of these 700,000 were cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (cSCC). Despite clear environmental causes for cSCC, studies also suggest genetic risk factors. A cSCC susceptibility locus, Skts5, was identified on mouse chromosome 12 by linkage analysis. The orthologous locus to Skts5 in humans maps to 7p21 and 7q31. These loci show copy number increases in approximately 10% of cSCC tumors. Here we show that an additional 15-22% of tumors exhibit copy-neutral loss of heterozygosity. Furthermore, our previous data identified microsatellite markers on 7p21 and 7q31 that demonstrate preferential allelic imbalance (PAI) in cSCC tumors. Based on these results, we hypothesized that the human orthologous locus to Skts5 would house a gene important in human cSCC development and that tumors would demonstrate allele-specific somatic alterations. To test this hypothesis, we performed quantitative genotyping of 108 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) mapping to candidate genes at human SKTS5 in paired normal and tumor DNAs. Nine SNPs in HDAC9 (rs801540, rs1178108, rs1178112, rs1726610, rs10243618, rs11764116, rs1178355, rs10269422, and rs12540872) showed PAI in tumors. These data suggest that HDAC9 variants may be selected for during cSCC tumorigenesis.
HDAC9; cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma; allelic-specific imbalance; Skts5
Indels in the coding regions of a gene can either cause frameshifts or amino acid insertions/deletions. Frameshifting indels are indels that have a length that is not divisible by 3 and subsequently cause frameshifts. Indels that have a length divisible by 3 cause amino acid insertions/deletions or block substitutions; we call these 3n indels. The new amino acid changes resulting from 3n indels could potentially affect protein function. Therefore, we construct a SIFT Indel prediction algorithm for 3n indels which achieves 82% accuracy, 81% sensitivity, 82% specificity, 82% precision, 0.63 MCC, and 0.87 AUC by 10-fold cross-validation. We have previously published a prediction algorithm for frameshifting indels. The rules for the prediction of 3n indels are different from the rules for the prediction of frameshifting indels and reflect the biological differences of these two different types of variations. SIFT Indel was applied to human 3n indels from the 1000 Genomes Project and the Exome Sequencing Project. We found that common variants are less likely to be deleterious than rare variants. The SIFT indel prediction algorithm for 3n indels is available at http://sift-dna.org/
Lynch syndrome confers an increased risk to various types of cancer, in particular early onset colorectal and endometrial cancer. Mutations in mismatch repair (MMR) genes underlie Lynch syndrome, with the majority of mutations found in MLH1 and MSH2. Mutations in MSH6 have also been found but these do not always cause a clear cancer predisposition phenotype and MSH6-defective tumors often do not show the standard characteristics of MMR deficiency, such as microsatellite instability. In particular, the consequences of MSH6 missense mutations are challenging to predict, which further complicates genetic counseling. We have previously developed a method for functional characterization of MSH2 missense mutations of unknown significance. This method is based on endogenous gene modification in mouse embryonic stem cells using oligonucleotide-directed gene targeting, followed by a series of functional assays addressing the MMR functions. Here we have adapted this method for the characterization of MSH6 missense mutations. We recreated three MSH6 variants found in suspected Lynch syndrome families, MSH6-P1087R, MSH6-R1095H and MSH6-L1354Q, and found all three to behave like wild type MSH6. Thus, despite suspicion for pathogenicity from clinical observations, our approach indicates these variants are not disease causing. This has important implications for counseling of mutation carriers.
Variants in regulatory regions are predicted to play an important role in disease susceptibility of common diseases. Polymorphisms mapping to microRNA (miRNA) binding sites have been shown to disrupt the ability of miRNAs to target genes resulting in differential mRNA and protein expression. Skin tumor susceptibility 5 (Skts5) was identified as a locus conferring susceptibility to chemically-induced skin cancer in NIH/Ola by SPRET/Outbred F1 backcrosses. To determine if polymorphisms between the strains which mapped to putative miRNA binding sites in the 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR) of genes at Skts5 influenced expression, we conducted a systematic evaluation of 3′UTRs of candidate genes across this locus. Nine genes had polymorphisms in their 3′UTRs which fit the linkage data and eight of these contained polymorphisms suspected to interfere with or introduce miRNA binding. 3′UTRs of six genes, Bcap29, Dgkb, Hbp1, Pik3cg, Twistnb, and Tspan13 differentially affected luciferase expression, but did not appear to be differentially regulated by the evaluated miRNAs predicted to bind to only one of the two isoforms. 3′UTRs from four additional genes chosen from the locus that fit less stringent criteria were evaluated. Ifrd1 and Etv1 showed differences and contained polymorphisms predicted to disrupt or create miRNA binding sites but showed no difference in regulation by the miRNAs tested. In summary, multiple 3′UTRs with putative functional variants between susceptible and resistant strains of mice influenced differential expression independent of predicted miRNA binding.
The functional polymorphism (rs1800566) in the NQO1 gene, a 609C>T substitution, leading to proline-to-serine amino-acid and enzyme activity changes, has been implicated in cancer risk, but individually published studies showed inconclusive results.
We performed a meta-analysis of 20 publications with a total of 5,491 cases and 5,917 controls, mainly on gastrointestinal (GI) cancers. We summarized the data on the association between the NQO1 609C>T polymorphism and risk of GI cancers and performed subgroup analyses by ethnicity, cancer site, and study quality. We found that the variant CT heterozygous and CT/TT genotypes of the NQO1 609 C>T polymorphism were associated with a modestly increased risk of GI cancers (CT vs. CC: OR = 1.10, 95% CI = 1.01 – 1.19, Pheterogeneity = 0.27, I2 = 0.15; CT/TT vs. CC: OR = 1.11, 95%CI = 1.02 – 1.20, Pheterogeneity = 0.14; I2 = 0.27). Following further stratified analyses, the increased risk was only observed in subgroups of Caucasians, colorectal cancer in Caucasians, and high quality studies.
This meta-analysis suggests that the NQO1 609T allele is a low-penetrance risk factor for GI cancers. Although the effect on GI cancers may be modified by ethnicity and cancer sites, small sample seizes of the subgroup analyses suggest that further larger studies are needed, especially for non-colorectal GI cancers in Caucasians and GI cancers in Asians.
Wilms tumor (WT) has been a model to study kidney embryogenesis and tumorigenesis and, although associated with hereditary, cancer predisposition syndromes, the majority of tumors occur sporadically. To analyze genetic changes in WT we have defined copy number changes and loss of heterozygosity in 56 Wilms tumors using high resolution oligonucleotide arrays at a average resolution of ∼12 Kb. Consistent deletions were seen on chromosomes 1p, 4q, 7p, 9q, 11p, 11q, 14q, 16q, and 21q. High frequency gains were seen for 1q and lower frequency gains were seen on 7q and chromosomes 8, 12 and 18. The high resolution provided by the SNP mapping arrays has defined minimal regions of deletion for many of these LOH events. Analysis of CNAs by tumor stage show relatively stable karyotypes in stage 1 tumors and more complex aCGH profiles in tumors from stages 3–5.
The development of microarray-based genetic tests for diseases that are caused by known mutations is becoming increasingly important. The key obstacle to developing functional genotyping assays is that such mutations need to be genotyped regardless of their location in genomic regions. These regions include large variations in G+C content, and structural features like hairpins.
We describe a rational, stable method for screening and combining assay conditions for the genetic analysis of 42 Phenylketonuria-associated mutations in the phenylalanine hydroxylase gene. The mutations are located in regions with large variations in G+C content (20–75%). Custom-made microarrays with different lengths of complementary probe sequences and spacers were hybridized with pooled PCR products of 12 exons from each of 38 individual patient DNA samples. The arrays were washed with eight buffers with different stringencies in a custom-made microfluidic system. The data were used to assess which parameters play significant roles in assay development.
Several assay development methods found suitable probes and assay conditions for a functional test for all investigated mutation sites. Probe length, probe spacer length, and assay stringency sufficed as variable parameters in the search for a functional multiplex assay. We discuss the optimal assay development methods for several different scenarios.
There have been few published analyses of the effects of missense mutations of the BRCA1 gene on BRCA1 protein function. In this study, we adapted a previously described homology directed recombination (HDR) assay to the analysis of the effects of BRCA1 point substitutions on its function in recombination. We established a HeLa-derived cell line, which has integrated in its genome a recombination substrate. Following transfection of a plasmid that expresses the endonuclease that creates a double-stranded break in the recombination substrate, HDR is readily scored by the percentage of GFP-positive cells. By combining RNAi specific for the cellular BRCA1 mRNA with expression of BRCA1 mutants resistant to the RNAi, we could effectively replace the endogenous BRCA1 protein with selected point mutants of BRCA1 and test these in the recombination assay. We found that both, the amino- and carboxy-terminal ~300 residues of BRCA1 were essential for directing HDR. Sixteen missense mutants from the amino terminus of BRCA1 were analyzed for function in HDR, and we found that several point mutants fully replaced the wild-type BRCA1 and are neutral in this process. Mutation of any single zinc-coordinating residue was fully defective in this assay. Several protein variants due to missense mutations, including methionine-18 to threonine and threonine-37 to arginine were also found to be defective for recombination. We have thus established a robust assay system for the analysis of the effects of specific missense mutations of BRCA1 in regulating the homologous recombination process.
Studies have suggested that somatic events in tumors can depend on an individual's constitutional genotype. We used squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) of the skin, which arise in high multiplicity in organ transplant recipients, as a model to compare the pattern of somatic alterations within and across individuals. Specifically, we performed array comparative genomic hybridization on 104 tumors from 25 unrelated individuals who each had three or more independently arisen SCCs and compared the profiles occurring within patients to profiles of tumors across a larger set of 135 patients. In general, chromosomal aberrations in SCCs were more similar within than across individuals (two-sided exact-test p-value ), consistent with the notion that the genetic background was affecting the pattern of somatic changes. To further test this possibility, we performed allele-specific imbalance studies using microsatellite markers mapping to 14 frequently aberrant regions of multiple independent tumors from 65 patients. We identified nine loci which show evidence of preferential allelic imbalance. One of these loci, 8q24, corresponded to a region in which multiple single nucleotide polymorphisms have been associated with increased cancer risk in genome-wide association studies (GWAS). We tested three implicated variants and identified one, rs13281615, with evidence of allele-specific imbalance (p-value = 0.012). The finding of an independently identified cancer susceptibility allele with allele-specific imbalance in a genomic region affected by recurrent DNA copy number changes suggest that it may also harbor risk alleles for SCC. Together these data provide strong evidence that the genetic background is a key driver of somatic events in cancer, opening an opportunity to expand this approach to identify cancer risk alleles.
Tumors exhibit DNA copy number gains and losses, many of which alter the dosage of genes that promote or suppress tumorigenesis. Evidence from familial cancer syndromes and animal models have shown that DNA copy number changes acquired somatically during tumor progression can be controlled by the constitutional genotype. The genetic heterogeneity among humans makes it difficult to systematically assess the extent of this effect. We used a unique clinical scenario of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), which can arise in high multiplicity within patients, to compare the pattern of somatic alterations on a homogeneous genetic background. We examined the genome-wide pattern of DNA copy number changes of tumors from individuals who had three or more independent SCCs. We identified multiple chromosomal regions that showed higher frequency of change in SCCs within patients than across patients, suggesting that the genetic background of the individual is important in driving these changes. We further confirmed this by identifying eight regions with strong evidence for a selection of loss or gain of a particular allele within patients. Together these data demonstrate that the genetic background of an individual influences the pattern of somatic alterations in tumors, offering a novel approach to map susceptibility alleles.
Epigenetic alterations of the genome such as DNA promoter methylation and chromatin remodeling play an important role in tumorigenesis. Recent findings indicate epigenetic modifications as key factors in breast carcinogenesis. These modifications are quite appealing as targets for preventative care and therapeutics because of their potential for reversal. Future medical care for breast cancer patients will likely depend upon a better understanding of the roles epigenetic modifications play in carcinogenesis. Here, we discuss the importance of epigenetics in breast cancer detection, prognosis, and therapy with an emphasis on mechanisms and epigenetic contributions to field cancerization effects.
epigenetics; breast cancer; field cancerization BRCA; ER
In immunocompromised individuals, such as organ transplant recipients, the risk of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is increased 60-250 fold, and there is an increased likelihood to develop aggressive, metastatic SCC. An understanding of the genes involved in SCC tumorigenesis is critical to prevent SCC-associated morbidity and mortality. Mouse models show that different immunosuppressive drugs lead to SCCs varying in size, number, and malignant potential. In this study we utilized mouse models that mimic adult transplant recipients to study the effect of immunosuppressive drugs and UV light on SCC development. UV-induced tumors from six treatment groups, control, tacrolimus (Tac), rapamycin (Rap), cyclosporin (CsA), mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), and Rap plus CsA, were evaluated by array comparative genomic hybridication. Mouse SCCs appear to show similar genomic aberrations as those reported in human SCCs and offer the ability to identify genomic changes associated with specific and combinatorial effects of drugs. Fewer aberrations were seen in tumors of mice treated with MMF or Rap. Tumors from Tac treated animals showed the highest number of changes. Calcineurin inhibitors (Tac and CsA) did not cluster together by their genomic aberrations, indicating their contribution to UV mediated carcinogenesis may be through different pathways. The combination treatment (Rap plus CsA) did not cluster with either treatment individually, suggesting it may influence SCC tumorigenesis via a different mechanism. Future studies will identify specific genes mapping to regions of aberration that are different between treatment groups to identify target pathways that may be affected by these drugs.
DNA-based microarrays are increasingly central to biomedical research. Selecting oligonucleotide sequences that will behave consistently across experiments is essential to the design, production and performance of DNA microarrays. Here our aim was to improve on probe design parameters by empirically and systematically evaluating probe performance in a multivariate context. We used experimental data from 19 array CGH hybridizations to assess the probe performance of 385,474 probes tiled in the Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) region of the X chromosome. Our results demonstrate that probe melting temperature, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and homocytosine motifs all have a strong effect on probe behavior. These findings, when incorporated into future microarray probe selection algorithms, may improve microarray performance for a wide variety of applications.
Twenty percent of individuals with a strong family and/or personal history of breast and ovarian cancer carry a deleterious mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2. Identification of mutations in these genes is extremely beneficial for patients pursuing risk reduction strategies. Approximately 7% of individuals who have genetic testing of BRCA1 and BRCA2 carry a variant of uncertain significance (VUS), making clinical management less certain. The majority of identified VUS occur only in one to two individuals; these variants are not able to be classified using current classification models with segregation analysis components.
To develop a clinically applicable method that can predict the pathogenicity of VUS that does not require familial information or segregation analysis, we identified characteristics of breast or ovarian tumors that distinguished sporadic tumors from tumors with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. Study participants included individuals with known deleterious mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 and individuals with classified or unclassified BRCA variants.
We applied the models to 57 tumors with 43 different deleterious BRCA mutations and 57 tumors with 54 unique classified and unclassified BRCA variants. Of the 33 previously unclassified VUS studied, we found evidence of neutrality for 21.
Our models showed 98% sensitivity and 76% specificity for predicting classified DNA changes. We classified 64% of unknown variants as neutral. Classification of VUS as neutral will have immediate benefit for those individuals and their family members. These models are adaptable for the clinic and will be useful for individuals with limited available family history.
In lung cancer, a patient's survival is poor with a wide variation in survival within the stage of disease. The aim of this study was to investigate the familial concordance in lung cancer survival by means of analyses of pairs with different degrees of familial relationships.
Our population-based Swedish family database included three million families and over 58 100 lung cancer patients. We modelled the proband (parent, sibling, spouse) survival utilizing a multivariate proportional hazard (Cox) model adjusting for possible confounders of survival. Subsequently, the survival in proband's relative (child, sibling, spouse) was analysed with a Cox model.
By use of Cox modelling with 5 years follow-up, we noted a decreased hazard ratio for death in children with good parental survival (Hazard Ratio [HR] = 0.71, 95% CI = 0.51 to 0.99), compared to those with poor parental survival. Also for siblings, a very strong protective effect was seen (HR = 0.14, 95% CI = 0.030 to 0.65). Finally, in spouses no correlation in survival was found.
Our findings suggest that genetic factors are important in lung cancer survival. In a clinical setting, information on prognosis in a relative may be vital in foreseeing the survival in an individual newly diagnosed with lung cancer. Future molecular studies enhancing the understanding of the underlying mechanisms and pathways are needed.
Mus spretus diverged from Mus musculus over one million years ago. These mice are genetically and phenotypically divergent. Despite the value of utilizing M. musculus and M. spretus for quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping, relatively little genomic information on M. spretus exists, and most of the available sequence and polymorphic data is for one strain of M. spretus, Spret/Ei. In previous work, we mapped fifteen loci for skin cancer susceptibility using four different M. spretus by M. musculus F1 backcrosses. One locus, skin tumor susceptibility 5 (Skts5) on chromosome 12, shows strong linkage in one cross.
To identify potential candidate genes for Skts5, we sequenced 65 named and unnamed genes and coding elements mapping to the peak linkage area in outbred spretus, Spret/EiJ, FVB/NJ, and NIH/Ola. We identified polymorphisms in 62 of 65 genes including 122 amino acid substitutions. To look for polymorphisms consistent with the linkage data, we sequenced exons with amino acid polymorphisms in two additional M. spretus strains and one additional M. musculus strain generating 40.1 kb of sequence data. Eight candidate variants were identified that fit with the linkage data. To determine the degree of variation across M. spretus, we conducted phylogenetic analyses. The relatedness of the M. spretus strains at this locus is consistent with the proximity of region of ascertainment of the ancestral mice.
Our analyses suggest that, if Skts5 on chromosome 12 is representative of other regions in the genome, then published genomic data for Spret/EiJ are likely to be of high utility for genomic studies in other M. spretus strains.
Evidence strongly suggests that spontaneous doublet mutations in normal mouse tissues generally arise from chronocoordinate events. These chronocoordinate mutations sometimes reflect “mutation showers”, which are multiple chronocoordinate mutations spanning many kilobases. However, little is known about mutagenesis of doublet and multiplet mutations (domuplets) in human cancer. Lung cancer accounts for about 25% of all cancer deaths. Herein, we analyze the epidemiology of domuplets in the EGFR and TP53 genes in lung cancer. The EGFR gene is an oncogene in which doublets are generally driver plus driver mutations, while the TP53 gene is a tumor suppressor gene with a more typical situation in which doublets derive from a driver and passenger mutation.
EGFR mutations identified by sequencing were collected from 66 published papers and our updated EGFR mutation database (www.egfr.org). TP53 mutations were collected from IARC version 12 (www-p53.iarc.fr). For EGFR and TP53 doublets, no clearly significant differences in race, ethnicity, gender and smoking status were observed. Doublets in the EGFR and TP53 genes in human lung cancer are elevated about eight- and three-fold, respectively, relative to spontaneous doublets in mouse (6% and 2.3% versus 0.7%).
Although no one characteristic is definitive, the aggregate properties of doublet and multiplet mutations in lung cancer are consistent with a subset derived from chronocoordinate events in the EGFR gene: i) the eight frameshift doublets (present in 0.5% of all patients with EGFR mutations) are clustered and produce a net in-frame change; ii) about 32% of doublets are very closely spaced (≤30 nt); and iii) multiplets contain two or more closely spaced mutations. TP53 mutations in lung cancer are very closely spaced (≤30 nt) in 33% of doublets, and multiplets generally contain two or more very closely spaced mutations. Work in model systems is necessary to confirm the significance of chronocoordinate events in lung and other cancers.
It is widely accepted that most colorectal cancers (CRCs) arise from colorectal adenomas (CRAs), but transcriptomic data characterizing the progression from colorectal normal mucosa to adenoma, and then to adenocarcinoma are scarce. These transition steps were investigated using microarrays, both at the level of gene expression and alternative pre-mRNA splicing. Many genes and exons were abnormally expressed in CRAs, even more than in CRCs, as compared to normal mucosae. Known biological pathways involved in CRC were altered in CRA, but several new enriched pathways were also recognized, such as the complement and coagulation cascades. We also identified four intersectional transcriptional signatures that could distinguish CRAs from normal mucosae or CRCs, including a signature of 40 genes differentially deregulated in both CRA and CRC samples. A majority of these genes had been described in different cancers, including FBLN1 or INHBA, but only a few in CRC. Several of these changes were also observed at the protein level. In addition, 20% of these genes (i.e. CFH, CRYAB, DPT, FBLN1, ITIH5, NR3C2, SLIT3 and TIMP1) showed altered pre-mRNA splicing in CRAs. As a global variation occurring since the CRA stage, and maintained in CRC, the expression and splicing changes of this 40-gene set may mark the risk of cancer occurrence from analysis of CRA biopsies.
Aberrant telomere length measured in blood has been associated with increased risk of several cancer types. In the field of hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (CRC), and more particularly in Lynch syndrome, caused by germline mutations in the mismatch repair (MMR) genes, we recently found that cancer-affected MMR gene mutation carriers had shorter telomeres and more pronounced shortening of telomere length with age than controls and unaffected MMR gene mutation carriers. Here we evaluate blood telomere length in MMR-proficient hereditary non-polyposis CRC, i.e. familial CRC type X (fCRC-X). A total of 57 cancer-affected and 57 cancer-free individuals from 34 Amsterdam-positive fCRC-X families were analyzed and compared to the data previously published on 144 cancer-affected and 100 cancer-free MMR gene mutation carriers, and 234 controls. Relative telomere length was measured using a monochrome multiplex quantitative PCR method, following strict measures to avoid sources of bias and adjusting by age. Despite the retrospective nature of our study, the results show that longer telomeres associate with cancer risk in fCRC-X, thus identifying different patterns of telomere length according to the status of the MMR system.
To explore genes of the killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) and of the HLA ligand and their relationship with the outcome of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients treated with first-line 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, and irinotecan (FOLFIRI).
A total of 224 mCRC patients were screened for KIR/HLA typing. The determination of the KIR/HLA combinations was based upon the gene content and variants. Genetic associations with complete response (CR), time to progression (TTP) and overall survival (OS) were evaluated by calculating odds and hazard ratios. Multivariate modeling with prognostic covariates was also performed.
For CR, the presence of KIR2DL5A, 2DS5, 2DS1, 3DS1, and KIR3DS1/HLA-Bw4-I80 was associated with increased CR rates, with median ORs ranging from 2.1 to 4.3, while the absence of KIR2DS4 and 3DL1 was associated with increased CR rates (OR 3.1). After univariate analysis, patients that underwent resective surgery of tumor, absence of KIR2DS5, and presence of KIR3DL1/HLA-Bw4-I80 showed a significant better OS (HR 1.5 to 2.8). Multivariate analysis identified as parameters independently related to OS the type of treatment (surgery; HR 2.0) and KIR3DL1/HLA-Bw4-I80 genotype (HR for T-I80 2.7 and for no functional KIR/HLA interaction 1.8). For TTP, no association with KIR/HLA genes was observed.
This study, for the first time, evidences that the genotyping for KIR-HLA pairs are found predictive markers associated with complete response and improves overall survival prediction of FOLFIRI treatment response in metastatic colorectal cancer. These results suggest a role of the KIR/HLA system in patient outcome, and guide new research on the immunogenetics of mCRC through mechanistic studies and clinical validation.
Dysregulated microRNA (miRNA) expression is a well-established feature of human cancer. However, the role of specific miRNAs in determining cancer outcomes remains unclear. Using Level 3 expression data from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), we identified 61 miRNAs that are associated with overall survival in 469 ovarian cancers profiled by microarray (p<0.01). We also identified 12 miRNAs that are associated with survival when miRNAs were profiled in the same specimens using Next Generation Sequencing (miRNA-Seq) (p<0.01). Surprisingly, only 1 miRNA transcript is associated with ovarian cancer survival in both datasets. Our analyses indicate that this discrepancy is due to the fact that miRNA levels reported by the two platforms correlate poorly, even after correcting for potential issues inherent to signal detection algorithms. Corrections for false discovery and microRNA abundance had minimal impact on this discrepancy. Further investigation is warranted.
Thyroid carcinoma is the most common endocrine malignant tumor and accounts for 1% of all new malignant diseases. Among all types and subtypes of thyroid cancers that have been described so far, papillary thyroid carcinoma is the most frequent. The standard management treatment of these tumors consists of surgery, followed by radioiodine treatment in case of high risk of relapse. The most aggressive forms are commonly treated by chemotherapy, radiotherapy or experimental drug testing. We recently reported the case of a patient presenting an anaplastic thyroid carcinoma with lung metastases. Fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis allowed us to detect a rearrangement of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene in both tumors. The patient was treated with crizotinib and presented an excellent drug response. We present here the subsequent investigations carried out to further characterize this genetic alteration and to assess the prevalence of ALK rearrangements in thyroid lesions. High resolution array-comparative genomic hybridization data complemented by RT-PCR and sequencing analyses, allowed us to demonstrate the presence of a STRN/ALK fusion. The STRN/ALK transcript consisted of the fusion between exon 3 of STRN and exon 20 of ALK. Subsequent screening of 75 various thyroid tumors by RT-PCR revealed that 2 out of 29 papillary thyroid carcinomas exhibited the same fusion transcript. None was detected in other types of malignant or benign thyroid lesions analyzed. These findings could pave the way for the development of new targeted therapeutic strategies in the treatment of papillary thyroid carcinomas and point to ALK inhibitors as promising agents that merit rapid evaluation.
Exome sequence capture and massively parallel sequencing can be combined to achieve inexpensive and rapid global analyses of the functional sections of the genome. The difficulties of working with relatively small quantities of genetic material, as may be necessary when sharing tumor biopsies between collaborators for instance, can be overcome using whole genome amplification. However, the potential drawbacks of using a whole genome amplification technology based on random primers in combination with sequence capture followed by massively parallel sequencing have not yet been examined in detail, especially in the context of mutation discovery in tumor material. In this work, we compare mutations detected in sequence data for unamplified DNA, whole genome amplified DNA, and RNA originating from the same tumor tissue samples from 16 patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer. The results obtained provide a comprehensive overview of the merits of these techniques for mutation analysis. We evaluated the identified genetic variants, and found that most (74%) of them were observed in both the amplified and the unamplified sequence data. Eighty-nine percent of the variations found by WGA were shared with unamplified DNA. We demonstrate a strategy for avoiding allelic bias by including RNA-sequencing information.
Single genetic variants discovered so far have been only weakly associated with melanoma. This study aims to use multiple single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) jointly to obtain a larger genetic effect and to improve the predictive value of a conventional phenotypic model. We analyzed 11 SNPs that were associated with melanoma risk in previous studies and were genotyped in MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) and Harvard Medical School investigations. Participants with ≥15 risk alleles were 5-fold more likely to have melanoma compared to those carrying ≤6. Compared to a model using the most significant single variant rs12913832, the increase in predictive value for the model using a polygenic risk score (PRS) comprised of 11 SNPs was 0.07(95% CI, 0.05-0.07). The overall predictive value of the PRS together with conventional phenotypic factors in the MDACC population was 0.69 (95% CI, 0.64-0.69). PRS significantly improved the risk prediction and reclassification in melanoma as compared with the conventional model. Our study suggests that a polygenic profile can improve the predictive value of an individual gene polymorphism and may be able to significantly improve the predictive value beyond conventional phenotypic melanoma risk factors.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Chromosomal instability (CIN) is a major driving force of microsatellite stable (MSS) sporadic CRC. CIN tumours are characterised by a large number of somatic chromosomal copy number aberrations (SCNA) that frequently affect oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes. The main aim of this work was to identify novel candidate CRC driver genes affected by recurrent and focal SCNA. High resolution genome-wide comparative genome hybridisation (CGH) arrays were used to compare tumour and normal DNA for 53 sporadic CRC cases. Context corrected common aberration (COCA) analysis and custom algorithms identified 64 deletions and 32 gains of focal minimal common regions (FMCR) at high frequency (>10%). Comparison of these FMCR with published genomic profiles from CRC revealed common overlap (42.2% of deletions and 34.4% of copy gains). Pathway analysis showed that apoptosis and p53 signalling pathways were commonly affected by deleted FMCR, and MAPK and potassium channel pathways by gains of FMCR. Candidate tumour suppressor genes in deleted FMCR included RASSF3, IFNAR1, IFNAR2 and NFKBIA and candidate oncogenes in gained FMCR included PRDM16, TNS1, RPA3 and KCNMA1. In conclusion, this study confirms some previously identified aberrations in MSS CRC and provides in silico evidence for some novel candidate driver genes.
Selenoproteins are a class of proteins containing a selenocysteine residue, many of which have been shown to have redox functions, acting as antioxidants to decrease oxidative stress. Selenoproteins have previously been associated with risk of various cancers and redox-related diseases. In this study we evaluated possible associations between breast cancer risk and survival and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the selenoprotein genes GPX1, GPX2, GPX3, GPX4, SELS, SEP15, SEPN1, SEPP1, SEPW1, TXNRD1, and TXNRD2 among Hispanic/Native American (2111 cases, 2597 controls) and non-Hispanic white (NHW) (1481 cases, 1586 controls) women in the Breast Cancer Health Disparities Study. Adaptive Rank Truncated Product (ARTP) analysis was used to determine both gene and pathway significance with these genes. The overall selenoprotein pathway PARTP was not significantly associated with breast cancer risk (PARTP = 0.69), and only one gene, GPX3, was of borderline significance for the overall population (PARTP =0.09) and marginally significant among women with 0-28% Native American (NA) ancestry (PARTP=0.06). The SEPP1 gene was statistically significantly associated with breast cancer risk among women with higher NA ancestry (PARTP=0.002) and contributed to a significant pathway among those women (PARTP=0.04). GPX1, GPX3, and SELS were associated with Estrogen Receptor-/Progesterone Receptor+ status (PARTP = 0.002, 0.05, and 0.01, respectively). Four SNPs (GPX3 rs2070593, rsGPX4 rs2074451, SELS rs9874, and TXNRD1 rs17202060) significantly interacted with dietary oxidative balance score after adjustment for multiple comparisons to alter breast cancer risk. GPX4 was significantly associated with breast cancer survival among those with the highest NA ancestry (PARTP = 0.05) only. Our data suggest that SEPP1 alters breast cancer risk among women with higher levels of NA ancestry.