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1.  Mutational Profile of Metastatic Breast Cancers: A Retrospective Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2016;13(12):e1002201.
Major advances have been achieved in the characterization of early breast cancer (eBC) genomic profiles. Metastatic breast cancer (mBC) is associated with poor outcomes, yet limited information is available on the genomic profile of this disease. This study aims to decipher mutational profiles of mBC using next-generation sequencing.
Methods and Findings
Whole-exome sequencing was performed on 216 tumor–blood pairs from mBC patients who underwent a biopsy in the context of the SAFIR01, SAFIR02, SHIVA, or Molecular Screening for Cancer Treatment Optimization (MOSCATO) prospective trials. Mutational profiles from 772 primary breast tumors from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) were used as a reference for comparing primary and mBC mutational profiles. Twelve genes (TP53, PIK3CA, GATA3, ESR1, MAP3K1, CDH1, AKT1, MAP2K4, RB1, PTEN, CBFB, and CDKN2A) were identified as significantly mutated in mBC (false discovery rate [FDR] < 0.1). Eight genes (ESR1, FSIP2, FRAS1, OSBPL3, EDC4, PALB2, IGFN1, and AGRN) were more frequently mutated in mBC as compared to eBC (FDR < 0.01). ESR1 was identified both as a driver and as a metastatic gene (n = 22, odds ratio = 29, 95% CI [9–155], p = 1.2e-12) and also presented with focal amplification (n = 9) for a total of 31 mBCs with either ESR1 mutation or amplification, including 27 hormone receptor positive (HR+) and HER2 negative (HER2−) mBCs (19%). HR+/HER2− mBC presented a high prevalence of mutations on genes located on the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway (TSC1 and TSC2) as compared to HR+/HER2− eBC (respectively 6% and 0.7%, p = 0.0004). Other actionable genes were more frequently mutated in HR+ mBC, including ERBB4 (n = 8), NOTCH3 (n = 7), and ALK (n = 7). Analysis of mutational signatures revealed a significant increase in APOBEC-mediated mutagenesis in HR+/HER2− metastatic tumors as compared to primary TCGA samples (p < 2e-16). The main limitations of this study include the absence of bone metastases and the size of the cohort, which might not have allowed the identification of rare mutations and their effect on survival.
This work reports the results of the analysis of the first large-scale study on mutation profiles of mBC. This study revealed genomic alterations and mutational signatures involved in the resistance to therapies, including actionable mutations.
Fabrice Andre and colleagues describe the mutations occurring in a large group of patients with metastatic breast cancer.
Author Summary
Why Was This Study Done?
Breast cancer often results in poor outcomes after it has metastasized to distant organs, but, while primary breast tumors have been extensively characterized at the molecular level, metastatic lesions are poorly understood.
This study aims to characterize the mutational landscape of metastatic breast cancer by performing and analyzing whole-exome sequencing of a large collection of metastatic breast tumors and corresponding blood samples.
Understanding of the mutational landscape of metastatic tumors should open new avenues for assessing resistance to therapy and developing better treatments.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The authors generated a large collection of whole-exome sequencing data from the DNA of breast cancer metastases and from each patient’s corresponding unmutated DNA in order to identify mutations and gene copy number alterations specific to the tumors.
The bioinformatics analyses identified recurrently mutated genes in metastatic tumors and revealed the genes specifically involved in metastatic disease by comparing their mutational frequency to those of primary breast tumors.
The study allowed identification of the affected genes and of mutational signatures that were more prevalent in metastatic as compared with primary tumors and that may be involved in the resistance to therapies.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The identification of mutational and copy number alterations specifically involved in breast cancer metastasis demonstrated that tumors evolve under the pressure of therapy.
Characterization of mutations and copy number alterations in metastatic lesions in addition to primary tumors should help to tailor treatment for patients, with the potential for improved clinical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC5189935  PMID: 28027327
2.  Papillary glioneuronal tumors: histological and molecular characteristics and diagnostic value of SLC44A1-PRKCA fusion 
Papillary Glioneuronal Tumor (PGNT) is a grade I tumor which was classified as a separate entity in the World Health Organization Classification of the Central Nervous System 2007 in the group of mixed glioneuronal tumors. This tumor is rare and subclassifying PGNT represents a challenge. Recently, a fusion between SLC44A1 and PRKCA which encodes a protein kinase C involved in MAPK signaling pathway has been described in two studies (five cases). The current study aimed at raising the cytogenetic, histological and molecular profiles of PGNT and to determine if SLC44A1-PRKCA fusion represented a specific diagnostic marker to distinguish it from other glioneuronal tumors.
We report on four pediatric cases of PGNT, along with clinico-radiologic and immunohistological features for which SLC44A1-PRKCA fusion assessment by fluorescence in situ hybridization, BRAF V600E and FGFR1 mutation by immunohistochemistry and direct DNA sequencing and KIAA1549-BRAF fusion by RT-PCR were performed. MAPK signaling pathway activation was investigated using phospho-ERK immunohistochemistry and western blot. We analyzed fifteen cases of tumors with challenging histological or clinical differential diagnoses showing respectively a papillary architecture or periventricular location (PGNT mimics). fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis revealed a constant SLC44A1-PRKCA fusion signal in all PGNTs. None of PGNT mimics showed the SLC44A1-PRKCA fusion signal pattern. All PGNTs were negative for BRAF V600E and FGFR1 mutation, and KIAA1549-BRAF fusion. Phospho-ERK analysis provides arguments for the activation of the MAPK signaling pathway in these tumors.
Here we confirmed and extended the molecular data on PGNT. These results suggest that PGNT belong to low grade glioma with MAPK signaling pathway deregulation. SLC44A1-PRKCA fusion seems to be a specific characteristic of PGNT with a high diagnostic value and detectable by FISH.
PMCID: PMC4681033  PMID: 26671581
Papillary glioneuronal tumor; SLC44A1-PRKCA; MAPK; BRAF; FGFR1; KIAA-BRAF; rosette-forming glioneuronal tumors of the fourth ventricle; ganglioglioma; angiocentric neuroepithelial tumors
3.  Histone H3F3A and HIST1H3B K27M mutations define two subgroups of diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas with different prognosis and phenotypes 
Acta Neuropathologica  2015;130(6):815-827.
Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is the most severe paediatric solid tumour, with no significant therapeutic progress made in the past 50 years. Recent studies suggest that diffuse midline glioma, H3-K27M mutant, may comprise more than one biological entity. The aim of the study was to determine the clinical and biological variables that most impact their prognosis. Ninety-one patients with classically defined DIPG underwent a systematic stereotactic biopsy and were included in this observational retrospective study. Histone H3 genes mutations were assessed by immunochemistry and direct sequencing, whilst global gene expression profiling and chromosomal imbalances were determined by microarrays. A full description of the MRI findings at diagnosis and at relapse was integrated with the molecular profiling data and clinical outcome. All DIPG but one were found to harbour either a somatic H3-K27M mutation and/or loss of H3K27 trimethylation. We also discovered a novel K27M mutation in HIST2H3C, and a lysine-to-isoleucine substitution (K27I) in H3F3A, also creating a loss of trimethylation. Patients with tumours harbouring a K27M mutation in H3.3 (H3F3A) did not respond clinically to radiotherapy as well, relapsed significantly earlier and exhibited more metastatic recurrences than those in H3.1 (HIST1H3B/C). H3.3-K27M-mutated DIPG have a proneural/oligodendroglial phenotype and a pro-metastatic gene expression signature with PDGFRA activation, while H3.1-K27M-mutated tumours exhibit a mesenchymal/astrocytic phenotype and a pro-angiogenic/hypoxic signature supported by expression profiling and radiological findings. H3K27 alterations appear as the founding event in DIPG and the mutations in the two main histone H3 variants drive two distinct oncogenic programmes with potential specific therapeutic targets.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00401-015-1478-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4654747  PMID: 26399631
4.  Dendritic cell-derived exosomes as maintenance immunotherapy after first line chemotherapy in NSCLC 
Oncoimmunology  2015;5(4):e1071008.
Dendritic cell-derived exosomes (Dex) are small extracellular vesicles secreted by viable dendritic cells. In the two phase-I trials that we conducted using the first generation of Dex (IFN-γ-free) in end-stage cancer, we reported that Dex exerted natural killer (NK) cell effector functions in patients. A second generation of Dex (IFN-γ-Dex) was manufactured with the aim of boosting NK and T cell immune responses. We carried out a phase II clinical trial testing the clinical benefit of IFN-γ-Dex loaded with MHC class I- and class II-restricted cancer antigens as maintenance immunotherapy after induction chemotherapy in patients bearing inoperable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) without tumor progression. The primary endpoint was to observe at least 50% of patients with progression-free survival (PFS) at 4 mo after chemotherapy cessation. Twenty-two patients received IFN-γ-Dex. One patient exhibited a grade three hepatotoxicity. The median time to progression was 2.2 mo and median overall survival (OS) was 15 mo. Seven patients (32%) experienced stabilization of >4 mo. The primary endpoint was not reached. An increase in NKp30-dependent NK cell functions were evidenced in a fraction of these NSCLC patients presenting with defective NKp30 expression. Importantly, MHC class II expression levels of the final IFN-γ-Dex product correlated with expression levels of the NKp30 ligand BAG6 on Dex, and with NKp30-dependent NK functions, the latter being associated with longer progression-free survival. This phase II trial confirmed the capacity of Dex to boost the NK cell arm of antitumor immunity in patients with advanced NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC4839329  PMID: 27141373
cancer vaccine; exosomes; immunotherapy; NSCLC; NK cell; phase II trial
5.  A simplified interventional mapping system (SIMS) for the selection of combinations of targeted treatments in non-small cell lung cancer 
Oncotarget  2015;6(16):14139-14152.
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a leading cause of death worldwide. Targeted monotherapies produce high regression rates, albeit for limited patient subgroups, who inevitably succumb. We present a novel strategy for identifying customized combinations of triplets of targeted agents, utilizing a simplified interventional mapping system (SIMS) that merges knowledge about existent drugs and their impact on the hallmarks of cancer. Based on interrogation of matched lung tumor and normal tissue using targeted genomic sequencing, copy number variation, transcriptomics, and miRNA expression, the activation status of 24 interventional nodes was elucidated. An algorithm was developed to create a scoring system that enables ranking of the activated interventional nodes for each patient. Based on the trends of co-activation at interventional points, combinations of drug triplets were defined in order to overcome resistance. This methodology will inform a prospective trial to be conducted by the WIN consortium, aiming to significantly impact survival in metastatic NSCLC and other malignancies.
PMCID: PMC4546456  PMID: 25944621
Tri-therapy; NSCLC; targeted therapies; algorithm; pathway
6.  Development of a semi-conductor sequencing-based panel for genotyping of colon and lung cancer by the Onconetwork consortium 
BMC Cancer  2015;15:26.
The number of predictive biomarkers that will be necessary to assess in clinical practice will increase with the availability of drugs that target specific molecular alterations. Therefore, diagnostic laboratories are confronted with new challenges: costs, turn-around-time and the amount of material required for testing will increase with the number of tests performed on a sample. Our consortium of European clinical research laboratories set out to test if semi-conductor sequencing provides a solution for these challenges.
We designed a multiplex PCR targeting 87 hotspot regions in 22 genes that are of clinical interest for lung and/or colorectal cancer. The gene-panel was tested by 7 different labs in their own clinical setting using ion-semiconductor sequencing.
We analyzed 155 samples containing 112 previously identified mutations in the KRAS, EGFR en BRAF genes. Only 1 sample failed analysis due to poor quality of the DNA. All other samples were correctly genotyped for the known mutations, even as low as 2%, but also revealed other mutations. Optimization of the primers used in the multiplex PCR resulted in a uniform coverage distribution over the amplicons that allows for efficient pooling of samples in a sequencing run.
We show that a semi-conductor based sequencing approach to stratify colon and lung cancer patients is feasible in a clinical setting.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12885-015-1015-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4318366  PMID: 25637035
Next-generation sequencing; Semi-conductor sequencing; Colorectal cancer; Non-small cell lung cancer; Multiplex PCR; Ion Torrent
7.  MET Genetic Abnormalities Unreliable for Patient Selection for Therapeutic Intervention in Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e84319.
Identification of MET genetic alteration, mutation, or amplification in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) could lead to development of MET selective kinase inhibitors. The aim of this study was to assess the frequency and prognostic value of MET gene mutation, amplification, and protein expression in primary OPSCC.
A retrospective chart review was conducted of patients treated for single primary OPSCC between January 2007 and December 2009. Pre-treatment OPSCC tissue samples were analyzed for MET mutations, gene amplification, and overexpression using Sanger sequencing, FISH analysis, and immunohistochemistry respectively. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to analyze correlations between molecular abnormalities and patient survival.
143 patients were included in this study. Six cases (4%) were identified that had a genetic variation, but previously described mutations such as p.Tyr1235Asp (Y1235D) or p.Tyr1230Cys (Y1230C) were not detected. There were 15 high polysomy cases, and only 3 cases met the criteria for true MET amplification, with ≥10% amplified cells per case. Immunohistochemistry evaluation showed 43% of cases were c-MET negative and in 57% c-MET was observed at the tumor cell level. Multivariate analysis showed no significant association between MET mutation, amplification, or expression and survival.
Our study shows a low frequency of MET mutations and amplification in this cohort of OPSCC. There was no significant correlation between MET mutations, amplification, or expression and patient survival. These results suggest that patient selection based on these MET genetic abnormalities may not be a reliable strategy for therapeutic intervention in OPSCC.
PMCID: PMC3894941  PMID: 24465403
8.  Integrated molecular portrait of non-small cell lung cancers 
BMC Medical Genomics  2013;6:53.
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), a leading cause of cancer deaths, represents a heterogeneous group of neoplasms, mostly comprising squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), adenocarcinoma (AC) and large-cell carcinoma (LCC). The objectives of this study were to utilize integrated genomic data including copy-number alteration, mRNA, microRNA expression and candidate-gene full sequencing data to characterize the molecular distinctions between AC and SCC.
Comparative genomic hybridization followed by mutational analysis, gene expression and miRNA microarray profiling were performed on 123 paired tumor and non-tumor tissue samples from patients with NSCLC.
At DNA, mRNA and miRNA levels we could identify molecular markers that discriminated significantly between the various histopathological entities of NSCLC. We identified 34 genomic clusters using aCGH data; several genes exhibited a different profile of aberrations between AC and SCC, including PIK3CA, SOX2, THPO, TP63, PDGFB genes. Gene expression profiling analysis identified SPP1, CTHRC1and GREM1 as potential biomarkers for early diagnosis of the cancer, and SPINK1 and BMP7 to distinguish between AC and SCC in small biopsies or in blood samples. Using integrated genomics approach we found in recurrently altered regions a list of three potential driver genes, MRPS22, NDRG1 and RNF7, which were consistently over-expressed in amplified regions, had wide-spread correlation with an average of ~800 genes throughout the genome and highly associated with histological types. Using a network enrichment analysis, the targets of these potential drivers were seen to be involved in DNA replication, cell cycle, mismatch repair, p53 signalling pathway and other lung cancer related signalling pathways, and many immunological pathways. Furthermore, we also identified one potential driver miRNA hsa-miR-944.
Integrated molecular characterization of AC and SCC helped identify clinically relevant markers and potential drivers, which are recurrent and stable changes at DNA level that have functional implications at RNA level and have strong association with histological subtypes.
PMCID: PMC4222074  PMID: 24299561
NSCLC; AC; SCC; LCC; Systems biology
9.  SISH/CISH or qPCR as alternative techniques to FISH for determination of HER2 amplification status on breast tumors core needle biopsies: a multicenter experience based on 840 cases 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:351.
Until now, FISH has been the gold standard technique to identify HER2 amplification status in ambiguous cases of breast cancer. Alternative techniques have been developed to increase the capacities of investigating HER2 amplification status. The aims of this multicenter study in a large series of breast cancer patients were to prospectively compare the level of performance of CISH, SISH, and qPCR alternative techniques on paraffin-embedded core biopsies with “gold standard FISH” for evaluation of HER2 amplification status.
This study was performed on 840 cases scored by immunohistochemistry (IHC): 0=317 (38%), 1+=183 (22%), 2+=109 (13%), 3+=231 (27%). Each of the 15 French centers participating in the study analyzed 56 breast carcinoma cases diagnosed on fixed paraffin-embedded core biopsies. HER2 amplification status was determined by commercially available FISH used as the reference technique with determination of the HER2/CEN17 ratio or HER2 copy number status. The alternative techniques performed on the same cases were commercially available SISH or CISH and a common qPCR method especially designed for the study including a set of 10 primer pairs: 2 for HER2 (exons 8 and 26), 5 to evaluate chromosome 17 polysomy TAOK1, UTP6, MRM1, MKS1, SSTR2 and 3 for diploidy control TSN, LAP3 and ADAMTS16.
The concordance between IHC and FISH was 96% to 95% based on the HER2/CEN17 ratio (n=766) or HER2 copy number (n=840), respectively. The concordance of the alternative techniques with FISH was excellent: 97% and 98% for SISH (498 and 587 cases), 98% and 75% for CISH (108 and 204 cases) and 95% and 93% (699 and 773 cases) for qPCR based on the HER2/CEN17 ratio or HER2 copy number, respectively. Similarly, sensitivity ranged from 99% to 95% for SISH, 100% to 99% for CISH and 89% to 80% for qPCR. The concordance with FISH (ratio) in the 2+ cases was 89% for SISH, 100% for CISH and 93% for qPCR.
These alternative techniques showed an excellent concordance with FISH in core biopsies allowing their use in routine clinical practice. This newly designed qPCR on paraffin-embedded core biopsies deserves special attention, as it is reliable, easy to perform and less expensive than ISH tests.
PMCID: PMC3729815  PMID: 23875536
HER2; FISH; SISH; CISH; qPCR; Multicenter analysis
10.  ALK germline mutations in patients with neuroblastoma: a rare and weakly penetrant syndrome 
Neuroblastic tumours may occur in a predisposition context. Two main genes are involved: PHOX2B, observed in familial cases and frequently associated with other neurocristopathies (Ondine's and Hirschsprung's disease); and ALK, mostly in familial tumours. We have assessed the frequency of mutations of these two genes in patients with a presumable higher risk of predisposition. We sequenced both genes in 26 perinatal cases (prebirth and <1 month of age, among which 10 were multifocal), 16 multifocal postnatal (>1 month) cases, 3 pairs of affected relatives and 8 patients with multiple malignancies. The whole coding sequences of the two genes were analysed in tumour and/or constitutional DNAs. We found three ALK germline mutations, all in a context of multifocal tumours. Two mutations (T1151R and R1192P) were inherited and shared by several unaffected patients, thus illustrating an incomplete penetrance. Younger age at tumour onset did not seem to offer a relevant selection criterion for ALK analyses. Conversely, multifocal tumours might be the most to benefit from the genetic screening. Finally, no PHOX2B germline mutation was found in this series. In conclusion, ALK deleterious mutations are rare events in patients with a high probability of predisposition. Other predisposing genes remain to be discovered.
PMCID: PMC3283184  PMID: 22071890
ALK; neuroblastoma; predisposition
11.  Molecular guided therapy for advanced pancreatic cancer patients with PI3K activated mutation: vision or illusion? 
OncoTargets and therapy  2013;6:95-97.
Despite a modern validated regimen of chemotherapy, advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma remains the fourth most common cause of cancer-related death worldwide. The phosphoinositide 3-kinase pathway (PI3K)/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a major signaling pathway that may be activated in advanced pancreatic cancer. To highlight the potential interest of this targetable pathway in selected advanced pancreatic cancer patients, we report herein a patient with an activated PI3K mutation who was treated in a phase I trial evaluating a treatment combination including an mTOR inhibitor.
PMCID: PMC3581357  PMID: 23450148
pancreatic cancer; PI3K; targeted therapy; molecular profiling
12.  Identification of Gene Signatures and Molecular Markers for Human Lung Cancer Prognosis using an In vitro Lung Carcinogenesis System 
Lung cancer continues to be a major deadly malignancy. The mortality of this disease could be reduced by improving the ability to predict cancer patients' survival. We hypothesized that genes differentially expressed among cells constituting an in vitro human lung carcinogenesis model consisting of normal, immortalized, transformed, and tumorigenic bronchial epithelial cells are relevant to the clinical outcome of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Multidimensional scaling, microarray, and functional pathways analyses of the transcriptomes of the above cells were done and combined with integrative genomics to incorporate the microarray data with published NSCLC data sets. Up-regulated (n = 301) and down-regulated genes (n = 358) displayed expression level variation across the in vitro model with progressive changes in cancer-related molecular functions. A subset of these genes (n = 584) separated lung adenocarcinoma clinical samples (n = 361) into two clusters with significant survival differences. Six genes, UBE2C, TPX2, MCM2, MCM6, FEN1, and SFN, selected by functional array analysis, were also effective in prognosis. The mRNA and protein levels of one these genes—UBE2C—were significantly up-regulated in NSCLC tissue relative to normal lung and increased progressively in lung lesions. Moreover, stage I NSCLC patients with positive UBE2C expression exhibited significantly poorer overall and progression-free survival than patients with negative expression. Our studies with this in vitro model have lead to the identification of a robust six-gene signature, which may be valuable for predicting the survival of lung adenocarcinoma patients. Moreover, one of those genes, UBE2C, seems to be a powerful biomarker for NSCLC survival prediction.
PMCID: PMC3382104  PMID: 19638491
13.  Attenuation of Soft-Tissue Sarcomas Resistance to the Cytotoxic Action of TNF-α by Restoring p53 Function 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38808.
Isolated limb perfusion with TNF-α and melphalan is used with remarkable efficiency to treat unresectable limb sarcomas. Here we tested the ability of TNF-α to directly induce apoptosis of sarcoma cells. In addition, we investigated the impact of p53 in the regulation of such effect.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We first analysed the ability of TNF-α to induce apoptosis in freshly isolated tumour cells. For this purpose, sarcoma tumours (n = 8) treated ex vivo with TNF-α were processed for TUNEL staining. It revealed substantial endothelial cell apoptosis and levels of tumour cell apoptosis that varied from low to high. In order to investigate the role of p53 in TNF-α-induced cell death, human sarcoma cell lines (n = 9) with different TP53 and MDM2 status were studied for their sensitivity to TNF-α. TP53Wt cell lines were sensitive to TNF-α unless MDM2 was over-expressed. However, TP53Mut and TP53Null cell lines were resistant. TP53 suppression in TP53Wt cell lines abrogated TNF-α sensitivity and TP53 overexpression in TP53Null cell lines restored it. The use of small molecules that restore p53 activity, such as CP-31398 or Nutlin-3a, in association with TNF-α, potentiated the cell death of respectively TP53Mut and TP53Wt/MDM2Ampl. In particular, CP-31398 was able to induce p53 as well as some of its apoptotic target genes in TP53Mut cells. In TP53Wt/MDM2Ampl cells, Nutlin-3a effects were associated with a decrease of TNF-α-induced NF-κB-DNA binding and correlated with a differential regulation of pro- and anti-apoptotic genes such as TP53BP2, GADD45, TGF-β1 and FAIM.
More effective therapeutic approaches are critically needed for the treatment of unresectable limb sarcomas. Our results show that restoring p53 activity in sarcoma cells correlated with increased sensitivity to TNF-α, suggesting that this strategy may be an important determinant of TNF-α-based sarcomas treatment.
PMCID: PMC3377724  PMID: 22719951
14.  Gene expression signature discriminates sporadic from post-radiotherapy-induced thyroid tumors 
Endocrine-Related Cancer  2011;18(1):193-206.
Both external and internal exposure to ionizing radiation are strong risk factors for the development of thyroid tumors. Until now, the diagnosis of radiation-induced thyroid tumors has been deduced from a network of arguments taken together with the individual history of radiation exposure. Neither the histological features nor the genetic alterations observed in these tumors have been shown to be specific fingerprints of an exposure to radiation. The aim of our work is to define ionizing radiation-related molecular specificities in a series of secondary thyroid tumors developed in the radiation field of patients treated by radiotherapy. To identify molecular markers that could represent a radiation-induction signature, we compared 25K microarray transcriptome profiles of a learning set of 28 thyroid tumors, which comprised 14 follicular thyroid adenomas (FTA) and 14 papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTC), either sporadic or consecutive to external radiotherapy in childhood. We identified a signature composed of 322 genes which discriminates radiation-induced tumors (FTA and PTC) from their sporadic counterparts. The robustness of this signature was further confirmed by blind case-by-case classification of an independent set of 29 tumors (16 FTA and 13 PTC). After the histology code break by the clinicians, 26/29 tumors were well classified regarding tumor etiology, 1 was undetermined, and 2 were misclassified. Our results help shed light on radiation-induced thyroid carcinogenesis, since specific molecular pathways are deregulated in radiation-induced tumors.
PMCID: PMC3023880  PMID: 21148326
15.  Genomic Aberrations in Lung Adenocarcinoma in Never Smokers 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e15145.
Lung cancer in never smokers would rank as the seventh most common cause of cancer death worldwide.
Methods and Findings
We performed high-resolution array comparative genomic hybridization analysis of lung adenocarcinoma in sixty never smokers and identified fourteen new minimal common regions (MCR) of gain or loss, of which five contained a single gene (MOCS2, NSUN3, KHDRBS2, SNTG1 and ST18). One larger MCR of gain contained NSD1. One focal amplification and nine gains contained FUS. NSD1 and FUS are oncogenes hitherto not known to be associated with lung cancer. FISH showed that the amplicon containing FUS was joined to the next telomeric amplicon at 16p11.2. FUS was over-expressed in 10 tumors with gain of 16p11.2 compared to 30 tumors without that gain. Other cancer genes present in aberrations included ARNT, BCL9, CDK4, CDKN2B, EGFR, ERBB2, MDM2, MDM4, MET, MYC and KRAS. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering with adjustment for false-discovery rate revealed clusters differing by the level and pattern of aberrations and displaying particular tumor characteristics. One cluster was strongly associated with gain of MYC. Another cluster was characterized by extensive losses containing tumor suppressor genes of which RB1 and WRN. Tumors in that cluster frequently harbored a central scar-like fibrosis. A third cluster was associated with gains on 7p and 7q, containing ETV1 and BRAF, and displayed the highest rate of EGFR mutations. SNP array analysis validated copy-number aberrations and revealed that RB1 and WRN were altered by recurrent copy-neutral loss of heterozygosity.
The present study has uncovered new aberrations containing cancer genes. The oncogene FUS is a candidate gene in the 16p region that is frequently gained in never smokers. Multiple genetic pathways defined by gains of MYC, deletions of RB1 and WRN or gains on 7p and 7q are involved in lung adenocarcinoma in never smokers.
PMCID: PMC2997777  PMID: 21151896
16.  Portrait of Ependymoma Recurrence in Children: Biomarkers of Tumor Progression Identified by Dual-Color Microarray-Based Gene Expression Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(9):e12932.
Children with ependymoma may experience a relapse in up to 50% of cases depending on the extent of resection. Key biological events associated with recurrence are unknown.
Methodology/Principal Findings
To discover the biology behind the recurrence of ependymomas, we performed CGHarray and a dual-color gene expression microarray analysis of 17 tumors at diagnosis co-hybridized with the corresponding 27 first or subsequent relapses from the same patient. As treatment and location had only limited influence on specific gene expression changes at relapse, we established a common signature for relapse. Eighty-seven genes showed an absolute fold change ≥2 in at least 50% of relapses and were defined as the gene expression signature of ependymoma recurrence. The most frequently upregulated genes are involved in the kinetochore (ASPM, KIF11) or in neural development (CD133, Wnt and Notch pathways). Metallothionein (MT) genes were downregulated in up to 80% of the recurrences. Quantitative PCR for ASPM, KIF11 and MT3 plus immunohistochemistry for ASPM and MT3 confirmed the microarray results. Immunohistochemistry on an independent series of 24 tumor pairs at diagnosis and at relapse confirmed the decrease of MT3 expression at recurrence in 17/24 tumor pairs (p = 0.002). Conversely, ASPM expression was more frequently positive at relapse (87.5% vs 37.5%, p = 0.03). Loss or deletion of the MT genes cluster was never observed at relapse. Promoter sequencing after bisulfite treatment of DNA from primary tumors and recurrences as well as treatment of short-term ependymoma cells cultures with a demethylating agent showed that methylation was not involved in MT3 downregulation. However, in vitro treatment with a histone deacetylase inhibitor or zinc restored MT3 expression.
The most frequent molecular events associated with ependymoma recurrence were over-expression of kinetochore proteins and down-regulation of metallothioneins. Metallothionein-3 expression is epigenetically controlled and can be restored in vitro by histone deacetylase inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC2945762  PMID: 20885975

Results 1-16 (16)