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1.  Microsatellite instability and mutations in BRAF and KRAS are significant predictors of disseminated disease in colon cancer 
BMC Cancer  2015;15:125.
Molecular alterations are well studied in colon cancer, however there is still need for an improved understanding of their prognostic impact. This study aims to characterize colon cancer with regard to KRAS, BRAF, and PIK3CA mutations, microsatellite instability (MSI), and average DNA copy number, in connection with tumour dissemination and recurrence in patients with colon cancer.
Disease stage II-IV colon cancer patients (n = 121) were selected. KRAS, BRAF, and PIK3CA mutation status was assessed by pyrosequencing and MSI was determined by analysis of mononucleotide repeat markers. Genome-wide average DNA copy number and allelic imbalance was evaluated by SNP array analysis.
Patients with mutated KRAS were more likely to experience disease dissemination (OR 2.75; 95% CI 1.28-6.04), whereas the opposite was observed for patients with BRAF mutation (OR 0.34; 95% 0.14-0.81) or MSI (OR 0.24; 95% 0.09-0.64). Also in the subset of patients with stage II-III disease, both MSI (OR 0.29; 95% 0.10-0.86) and BRAF mutation (OR 0.32; 95% 0.16-0.91) were related to lower risk of distant recurrence. However, average DNA copy number and PIK3CA mutations were not associated with disease dissemination.
The present study revealed that tumour dissemination is less likely to occur in colon cancer patients with MSI and BRAF mutation, whereas the presence of a KRAS mutation increases the likelihood of disseminated disease.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12885-015-1144-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4364587  PMID: 25884297
Colon cancer; MSI; BRAF; KRAS; PIK3CA; DNA copy number; Prognosis
2.  1p36 deletion is a marker for tumour dissemination in microsatellite stable stage II-III colon cancer 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:872.
The clinical behaviour of colon cancer is heterogeneous. Five-year overall survival is 50-65% with all stages included. Recurring somatic chromosomal alterations have been identified and some have shown potential as markers for dissemination of the tumour, which is responsible for most colon cancer deaths. We investigated 115 selected stage II-IV primary colon cancers for associations between chromosomal alterations and tumour dissemination.
Follow-up was at least 5 years for stage II-III patients without distant recurrence. Affymetrix SNP 6.0 microarrays and allele-specific copy number analysis were used to identify chromosomal alterations. Fisher’s exact test was used to associate alterations with tumour dissemination, detected at diagnosis (stage IV) or later as recurrent disease (stage II-III).
Loss of 1p36.11-21 was associated with tumour dissemination in microsatellite stable tumours of stage II-IV (odds ratio = 5.5). It was enriched to a similar extent in tumours with distant recurrence within stage II and stage III subgroups, and may therefore be used as a prognostic marker at diagnosis. Loss of 1p36.11-21 relative to average copy number of the genome showed similar prognostic value compared to absolute loss of copies. Therefore, the use of relative loss as a prognostic marker would benefit more patients by applying also to hyperploid cancer genomes. The association with tumour dissemination was supported by independent data from the The Cancer Genome Atlas.
Deletions on 1p36 may be used to guide adjuvant treatment decisions in microsatellite stable colon cancer of stages II and III.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-872) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4251789  PMID: 25420937
Colon cancer; Prognostic marker; Allele-specific copy number analysis; Genome duplication; 1p36; Metastasis; Tumour dissemination
3.  In situ mutation detection and visualization of intratumor heterogeneity for cancer research and diagnostics 
Oncotarget  2013;4(12):2407-2418.
Current assays for somatic mutation analysis are based on extracts from tissue sections that often contain morphologically heterogeneous neoplastic regions with variable contents of genetically normal stromal and inflammatory cells, obscuring the results of the assays. We have developed an RNA-based in situ mutation assay that targets oncogenic mutations in a multiplex fashion that resolves the heterogeneity of the tissue sample. Activating oncogenic mutations are targets for a new generation of cancer drugs. For anti-EGFR therapy prediction, we demonstrate reliable in situ detection of KRAS mutations in codon 12 and 13 in colon and lung cancers in three different types of routinely processed tissue materials. High-throughput screening of KRAS mutation status was successfully performed on a tissue microarray. Moreover, we show how the patterns of expressed mutated and wild-type alleles can be studied in situ in tumors with complex combinations of mutated EGFR, KRAS and TP53. This in situ method holds great promise as a tool to investigate the role of somatic mutations during tumor progression and for prediction of response to targeted therapy.
PMCID: PMC3926836  PMID: 24280411
Padlock probes; RCA; in situ; KRAS; cancer diagnostics
4.  Genomic and Transcriptional Alterations in Lung Adenocarcinoma in Relation to EGFR and KRAS Mutation Status 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e78614.
In lung adenocarcinoma, the mutational spectrum is dominated by EGFR and KRAS mutations. Improved knowledge about genomic and transcriptional alterations in and between mutation-defined subgroups may identify genes involved in disease development or progression.
Genomic profiles from 457 adenocarcinomas, including 113 EGFR-mutated, 134 KRAS-mutated and 210 EGFR and KRAS-wild type tumors (EGFRwt/KRASwt), and gene expression profiles from 914 adenocarcinomas, including 309 EGFR-mutated, 192 KRAS-mutated, and 413 EGFRwt/KRASwt tumors, were assembled from different repositories. Genomic and transcriptional differences between the three mutational groups were analyzed by both supervised and unsupervised methods.
EGFR-mutated adenocarcinomas displayed a larger number of copy number alterations and recurrent amplifications, a higher fraction of total loss-of-heterozygosity, higher genomic complexity, and a more distinct expression pattern than EGFR-wild type adenocarcinomas. Several of these differences were also consistent when the three mutational groups were stratified by stage, gender and smoking status. Specific copy number alterations were associated with mutation status, predominantly including regions of gain with the highest frequency in EGFR-mutated tumors. Differential regions included both large and small regions of gain on 1p, 5q34-q35.3, 7p, 7q11.21, 12p12.1, 16p, and 21q, and losses on 6q16.3-q21, 8p, and 9p, with 20-40% frequency differences between the mutational groups. Supervised gene expression analyses identified 96 consistently differentially expressed genes between the mutational groups, and together with unsupervised analyses these analyses highlighted the difficulty in broadly resolving the three mutational groups into distinct transcriptional entities.
We provide a comprehensive overview of the genomic and transcriptional landscape in lung adenocarcinoma stratified by EGFR and KRAS mutations. Our analyses suggest that the overall genomic and transcriptional landscape of lung adenocarcinoma is affected, but only to a minor extent, by EGFR and KRAS mutation status.
PMCID: PMC3812039  PMID: 24205279
5.  Gene rearrangements in hormone receptor negative breast cancers revealed by mate pair sequencing 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:165.
Chromosomal rearrangements in the form of deletions, insertions, inversions and translocations are frequently observed in breast cancer genomes, and a subset of these rearrangements may play a crucial role in tumorigenesis. To identify novel somatic chromosomal rearrangements, we determined the genome structures of 15 hormone-receptor negative breast tumors by long-insert mate pair massively parallel sequencing.
We identified and validated 40 somatic structural alterations, including the recurring fusion between genes DDX10 and SKA3 and translocations involving the EPHA5 gene. Other rearrangements were found to affect genes in pathways involved in epigenetic regulation, mitosis and signal transduction, underscoring their potential role in breast tumorigenesis. RNA interference-mediated suppression of five candidate genes (DDX10, SKA3, EPHA5, CLTC and TNIK) led to inhibition of breast cancer cell growth. Moreover, downregulation of DDX10 in breast cancer cells lead to an increased frequency of apoptotic nuclear morphology.
Using whole genome mate pair sequencing and RNA interference assays, we have discovered a number of novel gene rearrangements in breast cancer genomes and identified DDX10, SKA3, EPHA5, CLTC and TNIK as potential cancer genes with impact on the growth and proliferation of breast cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC3600027  PMID: 23496902
6.  Comprehensive Re-Sequencing of Adrenal Aldosterone Producing Lesions Reveal Three Somatic Mutations near the KCNJ5 Potassium Channel Selectivity Filter 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41926.
Aldosterone producing lesions are a common cause of hypertension, but genetic alterations for tumorigenesis have been unclear. Recently, either of two recurrent somatic missense mutations (G151R or L168R) was found in the potassium channel KCNJ5 gene in aldosterone producing adenomas. These mutations alter the channel selectivity filter and result in Na+ conductance and cell depolarization, stimulating aldosterone production and cell proliferation. Because a similar mutation occurs in a Mendelian form of primary aldosteronism, these mutations appear to be sufficient for cell proliferation and aldosterone production. The prevalence and spectrum of KCNJ5 mutations in different entities of adrenocortical lesions remain to be defined.
Materials and Methods
The coding region and flanking intronic segments of KCNJ5 were subjected to Sanger DNA sequencing in 351 aldosterone producing lesions, from patients with primary aldosteronism and 130 other adrenocortical lesions. The specimens had been collected from 10 different worldwide referral centers.
G151R or L168R somatic mutations were identified in 47% of aldosterone producing adenomas, each with similar frequency. A previously unreported somatic mutation near the selectivity filter, E145Q, was observed twice. Somatic G151R or L168R mutations were also found in 40% of aldosterone producing adenomas associated with marked hyperplasia, but not in specimens with merely unilateral hyperplasia. Mutations were absent in 130 non-aldosterone secreting lesions.
KCNJ5 mutations were overrepresented in aldosterone producing adenomas from female compared to male patients (63 vs. 24%). Males with KCNJ5 mutations were significantly younger than those without (45 vs. 54, respectively; p<0.005) and their APAs with KCNJ5 mutations were larger than those without (27.1 mm vs. 17.1 mm; p<0.005).
Either of two somatic KCNJ5 mutations are highly prevalent and specific for aldosterone producing lesions. These findings provide new insight into the pathogenesis of primary aldosteronism.
PMCID: PMC3407065  PMID: 22848660
7.  Allele-specific copy number analysis of tumor samples with aneuploidy and tumor heterogeneity 
Genome Biology  2011;12(10):R108.
We describe a bioinformatic tool, Tumor Aberration Prediction Suite (TAPS), for the identification of allele-specific copy numbers in tumor samples using data from Affymetrix SNP arrays. It includes detailed visualization of genomic segment characteristics and iterative pattern recognition for copy number identification, and does not require patient-matched normal samples. TAPS can be used to identify chromosomal aberrations with high sensitivity even when the proportion of tumor cells is as low as 30%. Analysis of cancer samples indicates that TAPS is well suited to investigate samples with aneuploidy and tumor heterogeneity, which is commonly found in many types of solid tumors.
PMCID: PMC3333778  PMID: 22023820
8.  KRAS analysis in colorectal carcinoma: Analytical aspects of Pyrosequencing and allele-specific PCR in clinical practice 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:660.
Epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor therapy is now approved for treatment of metastatic colorectal carcinomas (CRC) in patients with tumors lacking KRAS mutations. Several procedures to detect KRAS mutations have been developed. However, the analytical sensitivity and specificity of these assays on routine clinical samples are not yet fully characterised.
The practical aspects and clinical applicability of a KRAS-assay based on Pyrosequencing were evaluated in a series of 314 consecutive CRC cases submitted for diagnostic KRAS analysis. The performance of Pyrosequencing compared to allele-specific, real-time PCR was then explored by a direct comparison of CE-IVD-marked versions of Pyrosequencing and TheraScreen (DxS) KRAS assays for a consecutive subset (n = 100) of the 314 clinical CRC samples.
Using Pyrosequencing, 39% of the 314 CRC samples were found KRAS-mutated and several of the mutations (8%) were located in codon 61. To explore the analytical sensitivity of the Pyrosequencing assay, mutated patient DNA was serially diluted with wild-type patient DNA. Dilutions corresponding to 1.25-2.5% tumor cells still revealed detectable mutation signals. In clinical practice, our algorithm for KRAS analysis includes a reanalysis of samples with low tumor cell content (< 10%, n = 56) using an independent assay (allele-specific PCR, DxS). All mutations identified by Pyrosequencing were then confirmed and, in addition, one more mutated sample was identified in this subset of 56 samples. Finally, a direct comparison of the two technologies was done by re-analysis of a subset (n = 100) of the clinical samples using CE-IVD-marked versions of Pyrosequencing and TheraScreen KRAS assays in a single blinded fashion. The number of samples for which the KRAS codon 12/13 mutation status could be defined using the Pyrosequencing or the TheraScreen assay was 94 and 91, respectively, and both assays detected the same number of codon 12 and 13 mutations.
KRAS mutation detection using Pyrosequencing was evaluated on a consecutive set of clinical CRC samples. Pyrosequencing provided sufficient analytical sensitivity and specificity to assess the mutation status in routine formalin-fixed CRC samples, even in tissues with a low tumor cell content.
PMCID: PMC3002357  PMID: 21122130
9.  Frequent aberrant DNA methylation of ABCB1, FOXC1, PPP2R2B and PTEN in ductal carcinoma in situ and early invasive breast cancer 
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive lesion of the breast that is frequently detected by mammography and subsequently removed by surgery. However, it is estimated that about half of the detected lesions would never have progressed into invasive cancer. Identifying DCIS and invasive cancer specific epigenetic lesions and understanding how these epigenetic changes are involved in triggering tumour progression is important for a better understanding of which lesions are at risk of becoming invasive.
Quantitative DNA methylation analysis of ABCB1, CDKN2A/p16INK4a, ESR1, FOXC1, GSTP1, IGF2, MGMT, MLH1, PPP2R2B, PTEN and RASSF1A was performed by pyrosequencing in a series of 27 pure DCIS, 28 small invasive ductal carcinomas (IDCs), 34 IDCs with a DCIS component and 5 normal breast tissue samples. FOXC1, ABCB1, PPP2R2B and PTEN were analyzed in 23 additional normal breast tissue samples. Real-Time PCR expression analysis was performed for FOXC1.
Aberrant DNA methylation was observed in all three diagnosis groups for the following genes: ABCB1, FOXC1, GSTP1, MGMT, MLH1, PPP2R2B, PTEN and RASSF1A. For most of these genes, methylation was already present at the DCIS level with the same frequency as within IDCs. For FOXC1 significant differences in methylation levels were observed between normal breast tissue and invasive tumours (P < 0.001). The average DNA methylation levels were significantly higher in the pure IDCs and IDCs with DCIS compared to pure DCIS (P = 0.007 and P = 0.001, respectively). Real-time PCR analysis of FOXC1 expression from 25 DCIS, 23 IDCs and 28 normal tissue samples showed lower gene expression levels of FOXC1 in both methylated and unmethylated tumours compared to normal tissue (P < 0.001). DNA methylation levels of FOXC1, GSTP1, ABCB1 and RASSF1A were higher in oestrogen receptor (ER) positive vs. ER negative tumours; whereas methylation levels of FOXC1, ABCB1, PPP2R2B and PTEN were lower in tumours with a TP53 mutation.
Quantitative methylation analysis identified ABCB1, FOXC1, PPP2R2B and PTEN as novel genes to be methylated in DCIS. In particular, FOXC1 showed a significant increase in the methylation frequency in invasive tumours. Low FOXC1 gene expression in both methylated and unmethylated DCIS and IDCs indicates that the loss of its expression is an early event during breast cancer progression.
PMCID: PMC2880421  PMID: 20056007
10.  Quantification of Normal Cell Fraction and Copy Number Neutral LOH in Clinical Lung Cancer Samples Using SNP Array Data 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(6):e6057.
Technologies based on DNA microarrays have the potential to provide detailed information on genomic aberrations in tumor cells. In practice a major obstacle for quantitative detection of aberrations is the heterogeneity of clinical tumor tissue. Since tumor tissue invariably contains genetically normal stromal cells, this may lead to a failure to detect aberrations in the tumor cells.
Principal Finding
Using SNP array data from 44 non-small cell lung cancer samples we have developed a bioinformatic algorithm that accurately models the fractions of normal and tumor cells in clinical tumor samples. The proportion of normal cells in combination with SNP array data can be used to detect and quantify copy number neutral loss-of-heterozygosity (CNNLOH) in the tumor cells both in crude tumor tissue and in samples enriched for tumor cells by laser capture microdissection.
Genome-wide quantitative analysis of CNNLOH using the CNNLOH Quantifier method can help to identify recurrent aberrations contributing to tumor development in clinical tumor samples. In addition, SNP-array based analysis of CNNLOH may become important for detection of aberrations that can be used for diagnostic and prognostic purposes.
PMCID: PMC2699026  PMID: 19557126

Results 1-10 (10)