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1.  Structural, biochemical and clinical characterization of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) exon 20 insertion mutations in lung cancer 
Science translational medicine  2013;5(216):216ra177.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene mutations (G719X, exon 19 deletions/insertions, L858R and L861Q) predict favorable responses to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, EGFR exon 20 insertion mutations (∼10% of all EGFR mutations) are generally associated with insensitivity to available TKIs (gefitinib, erlotinib and afatinib). The basis of this primary resistance is poorly understood.  We study a broad subset of exon 20 insertion mutations, comparing in vitro TKI sensitivity with responses to gefitinib and erlotinib in NSCLC patients; and find that most are resistant to EGFR TKIs. The crystal structure of a representative TKI-insensitive mutant (D770_N771insNPG) reveals an unaltered ATP-binding pocket and the inserted residues form a wedge at the end of the C-helix that promotes the active kinase conformation. Unlike EGFR-L858R, D770_N771insNPG activates EGFR without increasing its affinity for EGFR TKIs. Unexpectedly, we find that EGFR-A763_Y764insFQEA is highly sensitive to EGFR TKIs in vitro; and patients whose NSCLCs harbor this mutation respond to erlotinib. Analysis of the A763_Y764insFQEA mutant indicates that the inserted residues shift the register of the C-helix in the N-terminal direction, altering the structure in the region that is also affected by the TKI-sensitive EGFR-L858R. Our studies reveal intricate differences between EGFR mutations, their biology and their response to EGFR TKIs.
doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3007205
PMCID: PMC3954775  PMID: 24353160
lung cancer; non-small-cell lung cancer; epidermal growth factor receptor; EGFR; erlotinib; gefitinib; afatinib; exon 20 insertion; x-ray crystallography
2.  Colorectal Cancers from Distinct Ancestral Populations Show Variations in BRAF Mutation Frequency 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74950.
It has been demonstrated for some cancers that the frequency of somatic oncogenic mutations may vary in ancestral populations. To determine whether key driver alterations might occur at different frequencies in colorectal cancer, we applied a high-throughput genotyping platform (OncoMap) to query 385 mutations across 33 known cancer genes in colorectal cancer DNA from 83 Asian, 149 Black and 195 White patients. We found that Asian patients had fewer canonical oncogenic mutations in the genes tested (60% vs Black 79% (P = 0.011) and White 77% (P = 0.015)), and that BRAF mutations occurred at a higher frequency in White patients (17% vs Asian 4% (P = 0.004) and Black 7% (P = 0.014)). These results suggest that the use of genomic approaches to elucidate the different ancestral determinants harbored by patient populations may help to more precisely and effectively treat colorectal cancer.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074950
PMCID: PMC3774610  PMID: 24066160
3.  The genetic landscape of high-risk neuroblastoma 
Nature genetics  2013;45(3):279-284.
Neuroblastoma is a malignancy of the developing sympathetic nervous system that often presents with widespread metastatic disease, resulting in survival rates of less than 50%1. To determine the spectrum of somatic mutation in high-risk neuroblastoma, we studied 240 cases using a combination of whole exome, genome and transcriptome sequencing as part of the Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Treatments (TARGET) initiative. Here we report a low median exonic mutation frequency of 0.60 per megabase (0.48 non-silent), and remarkably few recurrently mutated genes in these tumors. Genes with significant somatic mutation frequencies included ALK (9.2% of cases), PTPN11 (2.9%), ATRX (2.5%, an additional 7.1% had focal deletions), MYCN (1.7%, a recurrent p.Pro44Leu alteration), and NRAS (0.83%). Rare, potentially pathogenic germline variants were significantly enriched in ALK, CHEK2, PINK1, and BARD1. The relative paucity of recurrent somatic mutations in neuroblastoma challenges current therapeutic strategies reliant upon frequently altered oncogenic drivers.
doi:10.1038/ng.2529
PMCID: PMC3682833  PMID: 23334666
4.  Integrative Genomic Analysis Implicates Gain of PIK3CA at 3q26 and MYC at 8q24 in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia 
Purpose
The disease course of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) varies significantly within cytogenetic groups. We hypothesized that high resolution genomic analysis of CLL would identify additional recurrent abnormalities associated with short time to first therapy (TTFT).
Experimental Design
We undertook high resolution genomic analysis of 161 prospectively enrolled CLLs using Affymetrix 6.0 SNP arrays, and integrated analysis of this dataset with gene expression profiles.
Results
Copy number analysis (CNA) of nonprogressive CLL reveals a stable genotype, with a median of only 1 somatic CNA per sample. Progressive CLL with 13q deletion was associated with additional somatic CNAs, and a greater number of CNAs was predictive of TTFT. We identified other recurrent CNAs associated with short TTFT: 8q24 amplification focused on the cancer susceptibility locus near MYC in 3.7%; 3q26 amplifications focused on PIK3CA in 5.6%; and 8p deletions in 5% of patients. Sequencing of MYC further identified somatic mutations in two CLLs. We determined which catalytic subunits of PI3K were in active complex with the p85 regulatory subunit, and demonstrated enrichment for the alpha subunit in three CLLs carrying PIK3CA amplification.
Conclusions
Our findings implicate amplifications of 3q26 focused on PIK3CA and 8q24 focused on MYC in CLL.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-2342
PMCID: PMC3719990  PMID: 22623730
CLL; PIK3CA; MYC; genomics; copy number
6.  Loss of ATRX, Genome Instability, and an Altered DNA Damage Response Are Hallmarks of the Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres Pathway 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(7):e1002772.
The Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) pathway is a telomerase-independent pathway for telomere maintenance that is active in a significant subset of human cancers and in vitro immortalized cell lines. ALT is thought to involve templated extension of telomeres through homologous recombination, but the genetic or epigenetic changes that unleash ALT are not known. Recently, mutations in the ATRX/DAXX chromatin remodeling complex and histone H3.3 were found to correlate with features of ALT in pancreatic neuroendocrine cancers, pediatric glioblastomas, and other tumors of the central nervous system, suggesting that these mutations might contribute to the activation of the ALT pathway in these cancers. We have taken a comprehensive approach to deciphering ALT by applying genomic, molecular biological, and cell biological approaches to a panel of 22 ALT cell lines, including cell lines derived in vitro. Here we show that loss of ATRX protein and mutations in the ATRX gene are hallmarks of ALT–immortalized cell lines. In addition, ALT is associated with extensive genome rearrangements, marked micronucleation, defects in the G2/M checkpoint, and altered double-strand break (DSB) repair. These attributes will facilitate the diagnosis and treatment of ALT positive human cancers.
Author Summary
Telomeres, the protective elements at the ends of chromosomes, need to be maintained for cells to proliferate indefinitely. In many human cancers, the telomeric DNA is replenished by telomerase. However, a second pathway for telomere maintenance, referred to as the ALT pathway, has increasingly been recognized in human cancers. The genetic basis for activation of ALT is not known, but recent data have implicated a chromatin remodeling complex (ATRX/DAXX) and the histone variant H3.3 as players in the repression of ALT. We have examined a large panel of ALT cell lines for their genetic and cell biological features and found that loss of ATRX is a common event in the genesis of ALT lines. In addition, we document that ALT cell lines frequently undergo chromosomal changes and are impaired in their ability to detect and repair damage in their DNA. These hallmarks of ALT are expected to facilitate the detection of ALT–type tumors in the clinic and may lead to ALT–specific treatments.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002772
PMCID: PMC3400581  PMID: 22829774
7.  Mutations in the DDR2 kinase gene identify a novel therapeutic target in squamous cell lung cancer 
Cancer discovery  2011;1(1):78-89.
While genomically targeted therapies have improved outcomes for patients with lung adenocarcinoma, little is known about the genomic alterations which drive squamous cell lung cancer. Sanger sequencing of the tyrosine kinome identified mutations in the DDR2 kinase gene in 3.8% of squamous cell lung cancers and cell lines. Squamous lung cancer cell lines harboring DDR2 mutations were selectively killed by knock-down of DDR2 by RNAi or by treatment with the multi-targeted kinase inhibitor dasatinib. Tumors established from a DDR2 mutant cell line were sensitive to dasatinib in xenograft models. Expression of mutated DDR2 led to cellular transformation which was blocked by dasatinib. A squamous cell lung cancer patient with a response to dasatinib and erlotinib treatment harbored a DDR2 kinase domain mutation. These data suggest that gain-of-function mutations in DDR2 are important oncogenic events and are amenable to therapy with dasatinib. As dasatinib is already approved for use, these findings could be rapidly translated into clinical trials.
doi:10.1158/2159-8274.CD-11-0005
PMCID: PMC3274752  PMID: 22328973
Squamous cell lung cancer; DDR2; dasatinib; tyrosine kinase inhibitors; lung cancer genomics
11.  Profiling Critical Cancer Gene Mutations in Clinical Tumor Samples 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(11):e7887.
Background
Detection of critical cancer gene mutations in clinical tumor specimens may predict patient outcomes and inform treatment options; however, high-throughput mutation profiling remains underdeveloped as a diagnostic approach. We report the implementation of a genotyping and validation algorithm that enables robust tumor mutation profiling in the clinical setting.
Methodology
We developed and implemented an optimized mutation profiling platform (“OncoMap”) to interrogate ∼400 mutations in 33 known oncogenes and tumor suppressors, many of which are known to predict response or resistance to targeted therapies. The performance of OncoMap was analyzed using DNA derived from both frozen and FFPE clinical material in a diverse set of cancer types. A subsequent in-depth analysis was conducted on histologically and clinically annotated pediatric gliomas. The sensitivity and specificity of OncoMap were 93.8% and 100% in fresh frozen tissue; and 89.3% and 99.4% in FFPE-derived DNA. We detected known mutations at the expected frequencies in common cancers, as well as novel mutations in adult and pediatric cancers that are likely to predict heightened response or resistance to existing or developmental cancer therapies. OncoMap profiles also support a new molecular stratification of pediatric low-grade gliomas based on BRAF mutations that may have immediate clinical impact.
Conclusions
Our results demonstrate the clinical feasibility of high-throughput mutation profiling to query a large panel of “actionable” cancer gene mutations. In the future, this type of approach may be incorporated into both cancer epidemiologic studies and clinical decision making to specify the use of many targeted anticancer agents.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007887
PMCID: PMC2774511  PMID: 19924296
12.  Predicting drug susceptibility of non–small cell lung cancers based on genetic lesions 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2009;119(6):1727-1740.
Somatic genetic alterations in cancers have been linked with response to targeted therapeutics by creation of specific dependency on activated oncogenic signaling pathways. However, no tools currently exist to systematically connect such genetic lesions to therapeutic vulnerability. We have therefore developed a genomics approach to identify lesions associated with therapeutically relevant oncogene dependency. Using integrated genomic profiling, we have demonstrated that the genomes of a large panel of human non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines are highly representative of those of primary NSCLC tumors. Using cell-based compound screening coupled with diverse computational approaches to integrate orthogonal genomic and biochemical data sets, we identified molecular and genomic predictors of therapeutic response to clinically relevant compounds. Using this approach, we showed that v-Ki-ras2 Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS) mutations confer enhanced Hsp90 dependency and validated this finding in mice with KRAS-driven lung adenocarcinoma, as these mice exhibited dramatic tumor regression when treated with an Hsp90 inhibitor. In addition, we found that cells with copy number enhancement of v-abl Abelson murine leukemia viral oncogene homolog 2 (ABL2) and ephrin receptor kinase and v-src sarcoma (Schmidt-Ruppin A-2) viral oncogene homolog (avian) (SRC) kinase family genes were exquisitely sensitive to treatment with the SRC/ABL inhibitor dasatinib, both in vitro and when it xenografted into mice. Thus, genomically annotated cell-line collections may help translate cancer genomics information into clinical practice by defining critical pathway dependencies amenable to therapeutic inhibition.
doi:10.1172/JCI37127
PMCID: PMC2689116  PMID: 19451690
13.  Activating mutations in ALK provide a therapeutic target in neuroblastoma 
Nature  2008;455(7215):975-978.
Neuroblastoma, an embryonal tumor of the peripheral sympathetic nervous system, accounts for approximately 15% of all deaths due to childhood cancer1. High-risk neuroblastomas, prevalent in the majority of patients, are rapidly progressive; even with intensive myeloablative chemotherapy, relapse is common and almost uniformly fatal2,3. Here we report the detection of previously unknown mutations in the ALK gene, which encodes a receptor tyrosine kinase, in 8% of primary neuroblastomas. Five non-synonymous sequence variations were identified in the kinase domain of ALK, of which three were somatic and two were germline. The most frequent mutation, F1174L, was also identified in three different neuroblastoma cell lines. ALK cDNAs encoding the F1174L and R1275Q variants, but not the wild-type ALK cDNA, transformed IL-3-dependent murine hematopoietic Ba/F3 cells to cytokine-independent growth. Ba/F3 cells expressing these mutations were sensitive to a small-molecule inhibitor of ALK, TAE6844. Furthermore, two human neuroblastoma cell lines harboring the F1174L mutation were sensitive to the inhibitor. Cytotoxicity was associated with increased levels of apoptosis as measured by TUNEL-labeling. shRNA-mediated knockdown of ALK expression in neuroblastoma cell lines with the F1174L mutation also resulted in apoptosis and impaired cell proliferation. Thus, activating alleles of the ALK receptor tyrosine kinase are present in primary neuroblastoma tumors and in established neuroblastoma cell lines, and confer sensitivity to ALK inhibition with small molecules, providing a molecular rationale for targeted therapy of this disease.
doi:10.1038/nature07397
PMCID: PMC2587486  PMID: 18923525
14.  Characterizing the cancer genome in lung adenocarcinoma 
Nature  2007;450(7171):893-898.
Somatic alterations in cellular DNA underlie almost all human cancers1. The prospect of targeted therapies2 and the development of high-resolution, genome-wide approaches3–8 are now spurring systematic efforts to characterize cancer genomes. Here we report a large-scale project to characterize copy-number alterations in primary lung adenocarcinomas. By analysis of a large collection of tumors (n = 371) using dense single nucleotide polymorphism arrays, we identify a total of 57 significantly recurrent events. We find that 26 of 39 autosomal chromosome arms show consistent large-scale copy-number gain or loss, of which only a handful have been linked to a specific gene. We also identify 31 recurrent focal events, including 24 amplifications and 7 homozygous deletions. Only six of these focal events are currently associated with known mutations in lung carcinomas. The most common event, amplification of chromosome 14q13.3, is found in ~12% of samples. On the basis of genomic and functional analyses, we identify NKX2-1 (NK2 homeobox 1, also called TITF1), which lies in the minimal 14q13.3 amplification interval and encodes a lineage-specific transcription factor, as a novel candidate proto-oncogene involved in a significant fraction of lung adenocarcinomas. More generally, our results indicate that many of the genes that are involved in lung adenocarcinoma remain to be discovered.
doi:10.1038/nature06358
PMCID: PMC2538683  PMID: 17982442

Results 1-14 (14)