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Identification of neutral tumor evolution across cancer types

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      Abstract

      Despite extraordinary efforts to profile cancer genomes, interpreting the vast amount of genomic data in the light of cancer evolution remains challenging. Here we demonstrate that neutral tumor evolution results in a power-law distribution of the mutant allele frequencies reported by next-generation sequencing of tumor bulk samples. We find that the neutral power-law fits with high precision 323 of 904 cancers from 14 types, selected from different cohorts. In malignancies identified as neutral, all clonal selection occurred prior to the onset of cancer growth and not in later-arising subclones, resulting in numerous passenger mutations that are responsible for intra-tumor heterogeneity. Reanalyzing cancer sequencing data within the neutral framework allowed the measurement, in each patient, of both the in vivo mutation rate and the order and timing of mutations. This result provides a new way to interpret existing cancer genomic data and to discriminate between functional and non-functional intra-tumor heterogeneity.

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      ANNOVAR: functional annotation of genetic variants from high-throughput sequencing data

      High-throughput sequencing platforms are generating massive amounts of genetic variation data for diverse genomes, but it remains a challenge to pinpoint a small subset of functionally important variants. To fill these unmet needs, we developed the ANNOVAR tool to annotate single nucleotide variants (SNVs) and insertions/deletions, such as examining their functional consequence on genes, inferring cytogenetic bands, reporting functional importance scores, finding variants in conserved regions, or identifying variants reported in the 1000 Genomes Project and dbSNP. ANNOVAR can utilize annotation databases from the UCSC Genome Browser or any annotation data set conforming to Generic Feature Format version 3 (GFF3). We also illustrate a ‘variants reduction’ protocol on 4.7 million SNVs and indels from a human genome, including two causal mutations for Miller syndrome, a rare recessive disease. Through a stepwise procedure, we excluded variants that are unlikely to be causal, and identified 20 candidate genes including the causal gene. Using a desktop computer, ANNOVAR requires ∼4 min to perform gene-based annotation and ∼15 min to perform variants reduction on 4.7 million variants, making it practical to handle hundreds of human genomes in a day. ANNOVAR is freely available at http://www.openbioinformatics.org/annovar/ .
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        Comprehensive Molecular Characterization of Human Colon and Rectal Cancer

        Summary To characterize somatic alterations in colorectal carcinoma (CRC), we conducted genome-scale analysis of 276 samples, analyzing exome sequence, DNA copy number, promoter methylation, mRNA and microRNA expression. A subset (97) underwent low-depth-of-coverage whole-genome sequencing. 16% of CRC have hypermutation, three quarters of which have the expected high microsatellite instability (MSI), usually with hypermethylation and MLH1 silencing, but one quarter has somatic mismatch repair gene mutations. Excluding hypermutated cancers, colon and rectum cancers have remarkably similar patterns of genomic alteration. Twenty-four genes are significantly mutated. In addition to the expected APC, TP53, SMAD4, PIK3CA and KRAS mutations, we found frequent mutations in ARID1A, SOX9, and FAM123B/WTX. Recurrent copy number alterations include potentially drug-targetable amplifications of ERBB2 and newly discovered amplification of IGF2. Recurrent chromosomal translocations include fusion of NAV2 and WNT pathway member TCF7L1. Integrative analyses suggest new markers for aggressive CRC and important role for MYC-directed transcriptional activation and repression.
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          Cancer genome landscapes.

          Over the past decade, comprehensive sequencing efforts have revealed the genomic landscapes of common forms of human cancer. For most cancer types, this landscape consists of a small number of "mountains" (genes altered in a high percentage of tumors) and a much larger number of "hills" (genes altered infrequently). To date, these studies have revealed ~140 genes that, when altered by intragenic mutations, can promote or "drive" tumorigenesis. A typical tumor contains two to eight of these "driver gene" mutations; the remaining mutations are passengers that confer no selective growth advantage. Driver genes can be classified into 12 signaling pathways that regulate three core cellular processes: cell fate, cell survival, and genome maintenance. A better understanding of these pathways is one of the most pressing needs in basic cancer research. Even now, however, our knowledge of cancer genomes is sufficient to guide the development of more effective approaches for reducing cancer morbidity and mortality.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Evolution and Cancer Laboratory, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, Charterhouse Square, London, EC1M 6BQ, UK
            [2 ]Centre for Evolution and Cancer, The Institute of Cancer Research, London, SM2 5NG, UK
            [3 ]Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK
            [4 ]Centre for Mathematics and Physics in the Life Sciences and Experimental Biology (CoMPLEX), University College London, London, WC1E 6BT, UK
            [5 ]Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, London, WC1E 6BT, UK
            Author notes
            Correspondence should be addressed to T.A.G. ( t.graham@ 123456qmul.ac.uk ) or A.S. ( andrea.sottoriva@ 123456icr.ac.uk )
            Journal
            9216904
            2419
            Nat Genet
            Nat. Genet.
            Nature genetics
            1061-4036
            1546-1718
            19 April 2016
            18 January 2016
            March 2016
            01 September 2016
            : 48
            : 3
            : 238-244
            26780609
            4934603
            10.1038/ng.3489
            EMS66538

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