Glioblastomas with EGFR amplification represent approximately 50% of newly diagnosed cases and recent studies have revealed frequent coexistence of multiple EGFR aberrations within the same tumor with implications for mutation cooperation and treatment resistance. However, bulk tumor sequencing studies cannot resolve the patterns of how the multiple EGFR aberrations coexist with other mutations within single tumor cells. Here we applied a population-based single-cell whole genome sequencing methodology to characterize genomic heterogeneity in EGFR amplified glioblastomas. Our analysis effectively identified clonal events, including a novel translocation of a super enhancer to the TERT promoter, as well as subclonal loss-of-heterozygosity and multiple EGFR mutational variants within tumors. Correlating the EGFR mutations onto the cellular hierarchy revealed that EGFR truncation variants (EGFRvII and EGFR Carboxyl-terminal deletions) identified in the bulk tumor segregate into non-overlapping subclonal populations. In vitro and in vivo functional studies show EGFRvII is oncogenic and sensitive to EGFR inhibitors currently in clinical trials. Thus the association between diverse activating mutations in EGFR and other subclonal mutations within a single tumor supports an intrinsic mechanism for proliferative and clonal diversification with broad implications in resistance to treatment.
single-cell sequencing; single-nucleus sequencing; glioblastoma; EGFR; EGFR variant II
Lung squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most prevalent type of lung cancer. Currently, no targeted therapeutics are approved for treatment of this cancer, largely because of a lack of systematic understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of the disease. To identify therapeutic targets and perform comparative analyses of lung SCC, we probed somatic genome alterations of lung SCC by using samples from Korean patients.
Patients and Methods
We performed whole-exome sequencing of DNA from 104 lung SCC samples from Korean patients and matched normal DNA. In addition, copy-number analysis and transcriptome analysis were conducted for a subset of these samples. Clinical association with cancer-specific somatic alterations was investigated.
This cancer cohort is characterized by a high mutational burden with an average of 261 somatic exonic mutations per tumor and a mutational spectrum showing a signature of exposure to cigarette smoke. Seven genes demonstrated statistical enrichment for mutation: TP53, RB1, PTEN, NFE2L2, KEAP1, MLL2, and PIK3CA). Comparative analysis between Korean and North American lung SCC samples demonstrated a similar spectrum of alterations in these two populations in contrast to the differences seen in lung adenocarcinoma. We also uncovered recurrent occurrence of therapeutically actionable FGFR3-TACC3 fusion in lung SCC.
These findings provide new steps toward the identification of genomic target candidates for precision medicine in lung SCC, a disease with significant unmet medical needs.
We report the synthesis of a GDP analogue, SML-8-73-1, and a prodrug derivative, SML-10-70-1, which are selective, direct-acting covalent inhibitors of the K-Ras G12C mutant relative to wild-type Ras. Biochemical and biophysical measurements suggest that modification of K-Ras with SML-8-73-1 renders the protein in an inactive state. These first-in-class covalent K-Ras inhibitors demonstrate that irreversible targeting of the K-Ras guanine-nucleotide binding site is potentially a viable therapeutic strategy for inhibition of Ras signaling.
Cancer; Covalent inhibitor; Drug design; K-Ras
Hemangioblastomas consist of 10-20% neoplastic “stromal” cells within a vascular tumor cell mass of reactive pericytes, endothelium and lymphocytes. Familial cases of central nervous system hemangioblastoma uniformly result from mutations in the Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) gene. In contrast, inactivation of VHL has been previously observed in only a minority of sporadic hemangioblastomas, suggesting an alternative genetic etiology. We performed deep-coverage DNA sequencing on 32 sporadic hemangioblastomas (whole exome discovery cohort n = 10, validation n = 22), followed by analysis of clonality, copy number alteration, and somatic mutation. We identified somatic mutation, loss of heterozygosity and/or deletion of VHL in 8 of 10 discovery cohort tumors. VHL inactivating events were ultimately detected in 78% (25/32) of cases. No other gene was significantly mutated. Overall, deep-coverage sequence analysis techniques uncovered VHL alterations within the neoplastic fraction of these tumors at higher frequencies than previously reported. Our findings support the central role of VHL inactivation in the molecular pathogenesis of both familial and sporadic hemangioblastomas.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40478-014-0167-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Central nervous system; Hemangioblastoma; Deep sequencing; Somatic gene alterations; Von Hippel-Lindau gene; Hypoxia-inducible signaling
The diagnosed incidence of small intestine neuroendocrine tumors (SI-NETs) is increasing, and the underlying genomic mechanisms have not been defined for these tumors. Using exome/genome sequence analysis of SI-NETs, we identified recurrent somatic mutations and deletions in CDKN1B, the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor gene, which encodes p27. We observed frameshift mutations of CDKN1B in 14 of 180 SI-NETs, and we detected hemizygous deletions encompassing CDKN1B in 7 out of 50 SI-NETs, nominating p27 as a tumor suppressor and implicating cell cycle dysregulation in the etiology of SI-NET.
Kinase domain mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are common oncogenic events in lung adenocarcinoma. Here we explore the dependency upon asymmetric dimerization of the kinase domain for activation of lung cancer-derived EGFR mutants. We show that while wild-type EGFR and the L858R mutant require dimerization for activation and oncogenic transformation, the exon 19 deletion, exon 20 insertion, and L858R/T790M EGFR mutants do not require dimerization. In addition, treatment with the monoclonal antibody, cetuximab, shrinks mouse lung tumors induced by the dimerization-dependent L858R mutant, but exerts only a modest effect on tumors driven by dimerization-independent EGFR mutants. These data imply that different EGFR mutants show differential requirements for dimerization, and that disruption of dimerization may be among the antitumor mechanisms of cetuximab.
epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR); cetuximab (Erbitux); lung cancer-derived EGFR mutation; receptor dimerization; targeted therapy
Comprehensive analyses of cancer genomes promise to inform prognoses and precise cancer treatments. A major barrier, however, is inaccessibility of metastatic tissue. A potential solution is to characterize circulating tumor cells (CTCs), but this requires overcoming the challenges of isolating rare cells and sequencing low-input material. Here we report an integrated process to isolate, qualify and sequence whole exomes of CTCs with high fidelity, using a census-based sequencing strategy. Power calculations suggest that mapping of >99.995% of the standard exome is possible in CTCs. We validated our process in two prostate cancer patients including one for whom we sequenced CTCs, a lymph node metastasis and nine cores of the primary tumor. Fifty-one of 73 CTC mutations (70%) were observed in matched tissue. Moreover, we identified 10 early-trunk and 56 metastatic-trunk mutations in the non-CTC tumor samples and found 90% and 73% of these, respectively, in CTC exomes. This study establishes a foundation for CTC genomics in the clinic.
Genomic rearrangements are frequently observed in cancer cells but have been difficult to generate in a highly specific manner for functional analysis. Here we report the application of CRISPR/Cas technology to successfully generate several types of chromosomal rearrangements implicated as driver events in lung cancer, including the CD74-ROS1 translocation event and the EML4-ALK and KIF5B-RET inversion events. Our results demonstrate that Cas9-induced DNA breaks promote efficient rearrangement between pairs of targeted loci, providing a highly tractable approach for the study of genomic rearrangements.
We describe the landscape of somatic genomic alterations based on multi-dimensional and comprehensive characterization of more than 500 glioblastoma tumors (GBMs). We identify several novel mutated genes as well as complex rearrangements of signature receptors including EGFR and PDGFRA. TERT promoter mutations are shown to correlate with elevated mRNA expression, supporting a role in telomerase reactivation. Correlative analyses confirm that the survival advantage of the proneural subtype is conferred by the G-CIMP phenotype, and MGMT DNA methylation may be a predictive biomarker for treatment response only in classical subtype GBM. Integrative analysis of genomic and proteomic profiles challenges the notion of therapeutic inhibition of a pathway as an alternative to inhibition of the target itself. These data will facilitate the discovery of therapeutic and diagnostic target candidates, the validation of research and clinical observations and the generation of unanticipated hypotheses that can advance our molecular understanding of this lethal cancer.
Gastric cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths, but analysis of its molecular and clinical characteristics has been complicated by histological and aetiological heterogeneity. Here we describe a comprehensive molecular evaluation of 295 primary gastric adenocarcinomas as part of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project. We propose a molecular classification dividing gastric cancer into four subtypes: tumours positive for Epstein–Barr virus, which display recurrent PIK3CA mutations, extreme DNA hypermethylation, and amplification of JAK2, CD274 (also known as PD-L1) and PDCD1LG2 (also knownasPD-L2); microsatellite unstable tumours, which show elevated mutation rates, including mutations of genes encoding targetable oncogenic signalling proteins; genomically stable tumours, which are enriched for the diffuse histological variant and mutations of RHOA or fusions involving RHO-family GTPase-activating proteins; and tumours with chromosomal instability, which show marked aneuploidy and focal amplification of receptor tyrosine kinases. Identification of these subtypes provides a roadmap for patient stratification and trials of targeted therapies.
Cervical cancer is responsible for 10–15% of cancer-related deaths in women worldwide1,2. The etiological role of infection with high-risk human papilloma viruses (HPV) in cervical carcinomas is well established3. Previous studies have implicated somatic mutations in PIK3CA, PTEN, TP53, STK11 and KRAS4–7 as well as several copy number alterations in the pathogenesis of cervical carcinomas8,9. Here, we report whole exome sequencing analysis of 115 cervical carcinoma-normal paired samples, transcriptome sequencing of 79 cases and whole genome sequencing of 14 tumor-normal pairs. Novel somatic mutations in 79 primary squamous cell carcinomas include recurrent E322K substitutions in the MAPK1 gene (8%), inactivating mutations in the HLA-B gene (9%), and mutations in EP300 (16%), FBXW7 (15%), NFE2L2 (4%) TP53 (5%) and ERBB2 (6%). We also observed somatic ELF3 (13%) and CBFB (8%) mutations in 24 adenocarcinomas. Squamous cell carcinomas had higher frequencies of somatic mutations in the Tp*C dinucleotide context than adenocarcinomas. Gene expression levels at HPV integration sites were significantly higher in tumors with HPV integration compared with expression of the same genes in tumors without viral integration at the same site. These data demonstrate several recurrent genomic alterations in cervical carcinomas that suggest novel strategies to combat this disease.
Breast carcinoma is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in women worldwide with an estimated 1.38 million new cases and 458,000 deaths in 2008 alone1. This malignancy represents a heterogeneous group of tumours with characteristic molecular features, prognosis, and responses to available therapy2–4. Recurrent somatic alterations in breast cancer have been described including mutations and copy number alterations, notably ERBB2 amplifications, the first successful therapy target defined by a genomic aberration5. Prior DNA sequencing studies of breast cancer genomes have revealed additional candidate mutations and gene rearrangements 6–10. Here we report the whole-exome sequences of DNA from 103 human breast cancers of diverse subtypes from patients in Mexico and Vietnam compared to matched-normal DNA, together with whole-genome sequences of 22 breast cancer/normal pairs. Beyond confirming recurrent somatic mutations in PIK3CA11, TP536, AKT112, GATA313, and MAP3K110, we discovered recurrent mutations in the CBFB transcription factor gene and deletions of its partner RUNX1. Furthermore, we have identified a recurrent MAGI3-AKT3 fusion enriched in triple-negative breast cancer lacking estrogen and progesterone receptors and ERBB2 expression. The Magi3-Akt3 fusion leads to constitutive activation of Akt kinase, which is abolished by treatment with an ATP-competitive Akt small-molecule inhibitor.
A comprehensive description of genomic alterations in lung squamous cell carcinoma (lung SqCC) has recently been reported, enabling the identification of genomic events that contribute to the oncogenesis of this disease. In lung SqCC, one of the most frequently altered receptor tyrosine kinase families is the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) family, with amplification or mutation observed in all four family members. Here, we describe the oncogenic nature of mutations observed in FGFR2 and FGFR3, which are each observed in 3% of samples, for a mutation rate of 6% across both genes. Using cell culture and xenograft models, we show that several of these mutations drive cellular transformation. Transformation can be reversed by small molecule FGFR inhibitors currently being developed for clinical use. We also show that mutations in the extracellular domains of FGFR2 lead to constitutive FGFR dimerization. Additionally, we report a patient with an FGFR2-mutated oral squamous cell carcinoma who responded to the multi-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor pazopanib. These findings provide new insights into driving oncogenic events in a subset of lung squamous cancers, and recommend future clinical studies with FGFR inhibitors in patients with lung and head and neck SqCC.
Squamous cell lung cancer; Fibroblast growth factor receptors; tyrosine kinase inhibitors; lung cancer genomics
Increasing evidence links the gut microbiota with colorectal cancer. Metagenomic analyses indicate that commensal Fusobacterium spp. are associated with human colorectal carcinoma but whether this is an indirect or causal link remains unclear. We find that Fusobacterium spp. are enriched in human colonic adenomas relative to surrounding tissues and in stool samples from colorectal adenoma and carcinoma patients compared to healthy subjects. Additionally, in the ApcMin/+ mouse model of intestinal tumorigenesis, Fusobacterium nucleatum increases tumor multiplicity and selectively recruits tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells, which can promote tumor progression. Tumors from ApcMin/+ mice exposed to F. nucleatum exhibit a pro-inflammatory expression signature that is shared with human fusobacteria-positive colorectal carcinomas. However, unlike other bacteria linked to colorectal carcinoma, F. nucleatum does not exacerbate colitis, enteritis or inflammation-associated intestinal carcinogenesis. Collectively, these data suggest that, through recruitment of tumor-infiltrating immune cells, fusobacteria, generate a pro-inflammatory microenvironment that is conducive for colorectal neoplasia progression.
While a few cancer genes are mutated in a high proportion of tumors of a given type (>20%), most are mutated at intermediate frequencies (2–20%). To explore the feasibility of creating a comprehensive catalog of cancer genes, we analyzed somatic point mutations in exome sequence from 4,742 tumor-normal pairs across 21 cancer types. We found that large-scale genomic analysis can identify nearly all known cancer genes in these tumor types. Our analysis also identified 33 genes not previously known to be significantly mutated, including genes related to proliferation, apoptosis, genome stability, chromatin regulation, immune evasion, RNA processing and protein homeostasis. Down-sampling analysis indicates that larger sample sizes will reveal many more genes, mutated at clinically important frequencies. We estimate that near-saturation may be achieved with 600–5000 samples per tumor type, depending on background mutation rate. The results help guide the next stage of cancer genomics.
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.
lung cancer; non-small-cell lung cancer; epidermal growth factor receptor; EGFR; erlotinib; gefitinib; afatinib; exon 20 insertion; x-ray crystallography
The work by Cheung et al., published in this issue of Cancer Cell, demonstrates another example of how lineage-specific transcriptional regulators of differentiation, GATA6 and HOPX, can control the fate of lung adenocarcinoma progression.
Inhibition of the activated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) with either enzymatic kinase inhibitors or anti-EGFR antibodies such as cetuximab, is an effective modality of treatment for multiple human cancers. Enzymatic EGFR inhibitors are effective for lung adenocarcinomas with somatic kinase domain EGFR mutations while, paradoxically, anti-EGFR antibodies are more effective in colon and head and neck cancers where EGFR mutations occur less frequently. In colorectal cancer, anti-EGFR antibodies are routinely used as second-line therapy of KRAS wild-type tumors. However, detailed mechanisms and genomic predictors for pharmacological response to these antibodies in colon cancer remain unclear.
We describe a case of colorectal adenocarcinoma, which was found to harbor a kinase domain mutation, G724S, in EGFR through whole genome sequencing. We show that G724S mutant EGFR is oncogenic and that it differs from classic lung cancer derived EGFR mutants in that it is cetuximab responsive in vitro, yet relatively insensitive to small molecule kinase inhibitors. Through biochemical and cellular pharmacologic studies, we have determined that cells harboring the colon cancer-derived G719S and G724S mutants are responsive to cetuximab therapy in vitro and found that the requirement for asymmetric dimerization of these mutant EGFR to promote cellular transformation may explain their greater inhibition by cetuximab than small-molecule kinase inhibitors.
The colon-cancer derived G719S and G724S mutants are oncogenic and sensitive in vitro to cetuximab. These data suggest that patients with these mutations may benefit from the use of anti-EGFR antibodies as part of the first-line therapy.
The success in lung cancer therapy with Programmed Death (PD)-1 blockade suggests that immune escape mechanisms contribute to lung tumor pathogenesis. We identified a correlation between Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) pathway activation and a signature of immunosuppression manifested by upregulation of PD-1, PD-L1, cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4), and multiple tumor-promoting inflammatory cytokines. We observed decreased cytotoxic T cells and increased markers of T cell exhaustion in mouse models of EGFR-driven lung cancer. PD-1 antibody blockade improved the survival of mice with EGFR-driven adenocarcinomas by enhancing effector T cell function and lowering the levels of tumor-promoting cytokines. Expression of mutant EGFR in bronchial epithelial cells induced PD-L1, and PD-L1 expression was reduced by EGFR inhibitors in non-small cell lung cancer cell lines with activated EGFR. These data suggest that oncogenic EGFR signaling remodels the tumor microenvironment to trigger immune escape, and mechanistically link treatment response to PD-1 inhibition.
Tumors exhibit numerous recurrent hemizygous focal deletions that contain no known tumor suppressors and are poorly understood. To investigate whether these regions contribute to tumorigenesis, we searched genetically for genes with cancer-relevant properties within these hemizygous deletions. We identified STOP and GO genes, which negatively and positively regulate proliferation, respectively. STOP genes include many known tumor suppressors, whereas GO genes are enriched for essential genes. Analysis of their chromosomal distribution revealed that recurring deletions preferentially over represent STOP genes and under represent GO genes. We propose a hypothesis called the cancer gene island model whereby gene islands encompassing high densities of STOP genes and low densities of GO genes are hemizygously deleted to maximize proliferative fitness through cumulative haploinsufficiencies. Because hundreds to thousands of genes are hemizygously deleted per tumor, this mechanism may help drive tumorigenesis across many cancer types.
The analysis of exonic DNA from prostate cancers has identified recurrently mutated genes, but the spectrum of genome-wide alterations has not been profiled extensively in this disease. We sequenced the genomes of 57 prostate tumors and matched normal tissues to characterize somatic alterations and to study how they accumulate during oncogenesis and progression. By modeling the genesis of genomic rearrangements, we identified abundant DNA translocations and deletions that arise in a highly interdependent manner. This phenomenon, which we term “chromoplexy”, frequently accounts for the dysregulation of prostate cancer genes and appears to disrupt multiple cancer genes coordinately. Our modeling suggests that chromoplexy may induce considerable genomic derangement over relatively few events in prostate cancer and other neoplasms, supporting a model of punctuated cancer evolution. By characterizing the clonal hierarchy of genomic lesions in prostate tumors, we charted a path of oncogenic events along which chromoplexy may drive prostate carcinogenesis.
Radiation therapy is one of the mainstays of anti-cancer treatment, but the relationship between the radiosensitivity of cancer cells and their genomic characteristics is still not well-defined. Here we report the development of a high-throughput platform for measuring radiation survival in vitro and its validation by comparison to conventional clonogenic radiation survival analysis. We combined results from this high-throughput assay with genomic parameters in cell lines from squamous cell lung carcinoma, which is standardly treated by radiation therapy, to identify parameters that predict radiation sensitivity. We showed that activation of NFE2L2, a frequent event in lung squamous cancers, confers radiation resistance. An expression-based, in silico screen nominated inhibitors of PI3K as NFE2L2 antagonists. We showed that the selective PI3K inhibitor, NVP-BKM120, both decreased NRF2 protein levels and sensitized NFE2L2 or KEAP1 mutant cells to radiation. We then combined results from this high-throughput assay with single-sample gene set enrichment analysis (ssGSEA) of gene expression data. The resulting analysis identified pathways implicated in cell survival, genotoxic stress, detoxification, and innate and adaptive immunity as key correlates of radiation sensitivity. The integrative, high-throughput methods shown here for large-scale profiling of radiation survival and genomic features of solid-tumor derived cell lines should facilitate tumor radiogenomics and the discovery of genotype-selective radiation sensitizers and protective agents.
TP53; cmap; radiomodifier
The transcription factor SOX2 is an essential regulator of pluripotent stem cells and promotes development and maintenance of squamous epithelia. We previously reported that SOX2 is an oncogene and subject to highly recurrent genomic amplification in squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). Here, we have further characterized the function of SOX2 in SCC. Using ChIP-seq analysis, we compared SOX2-regulated gene profiles in multiple SCC cell lines to ES cell profiles and determined that SOX2 binds to distinct genomic loci in SCCs. In SCCs, SOX2 preferentially interacts with the transcription factor p63, as opposed to the transcription factor OCT4, which is the preferred SOX2 binding partner in ES cells. SOX2 and p63 exhibited overlapping genomic occupancy at a large number of loci in SCCs; however, coordinate binding of SOX2 and p63 was absent in ES cells. We further demonstrated that SOX2 and p63 jointly regulate gene expression, including the oncogene ETV4, which was essential for SOX2-amplified SCC cell survival. Together, these findings demonstrate that the action of SOX2 in SCC differs substantially from its role in pluripotency. The identification of the SCC-associated interaction between SOX2 and p63 will enable deeper characterization the downstream targets of this interaction in SCC and normal squamous epithelial physiology.
Targeted cancer therapies often induce “outlier” responses in molecularly defined patient subsets. One patient with advanced-stage lung adenocarcinoma, who was treated with oral sorafenib, demonstrated a near-complete clinical and radiographic remission for 5 years. Whole-genome sequencing and RNA sequencing of primary tumor and normal samples from this patient identified a somatic mutation, ARAF S214C, present in the cancer genome and expressed at high levels. Additional mutations affecting this residue of ARAF and a nearby residue in the related kinase RAF1 were demonstrated across 1% of an independent cohort of lung adenocarcinoma cases. The ARAF mutations were shown to transform immortalized human airway epithelial cells in a sorafenib-sensitive manner. These results suggest that mutant ARAF is an oncogenic driver in lung adenocarcinoma and an indicator of sorafenib response.