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      Epimutations mimic genomic mutations of DNMT3A in acute myeloid leukemia

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          Mutations in the genetic sequence of the DNA de novo methyltransferase DNMT3A (DNA methyltransferase 3A) are found in many patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). They lead to dysfunction of DNMT3A protein and represent a marker for poor prognosis. Effects of genetic mutations can be mimicked by epigenetic modifications in the DNA methylation (DNAm) pattern. Using DNAm profiles of the Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network (TCGA), we identified aberrant hypermethylation at an internal promoter region of DNMT3A, which occurred in about 40% of AML patients. Bisulfite pyrosequencing assays designed for this genomic region validated hypermethylation specifically in a subset of our AML samples. High DNAm levels at this site are particularly observed in samples without genetic mutations in DNMT3A. Epimutations and mutations of DNMT3A were associated with related gene expression changes such as upregulation of the homeobox genes in HOXA and HOXB clusters. Furthermore, epimutations in DNMT3A were enriched in patients with poor or intermediate cytogenetic risk, and in patients with shorter event-free survival and overall survival (OS). Taken together, aberrant DNA hypermethylation within the DNMT3A gene, in analogy to DNMT3A mutations, is frequently observed in AML and both modifications seem to be useful for risk stratification or choice of therapeutic regimen.

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          Most cited references 46

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          Integrated Genomic Analyses of Ovarian Carcinoma

          Summary The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project has analyzed mRNA expression, miRNA expression, promoter methylation, and DNA copy number in 489 high-grade serous ovarian adenocarcinomas (HGS-OvCa) and the DNA sequences of exons from coding genes in 316 of these tumors. These results show that HGS-OvCa is characterized by TP53 mutations in almost all tumors (96%); low prevalence but statistically recurrent somatic mutations in 9 additional genes including NF1, BRCA1, BRCA2, RB1, and CDK12; 113 significant focal DNA copy number aberrations; and promoter methylation events involving 168 genes. Analyses delineated four ovarian cancer transcriptional subtypes, three miRNA subtypes, four promoter methylation subtypes, a transcriptional signature associated with survival duration and shed new light on the impact on survival of tumors with BRCA1/2 and CCNE1 aberrations. Pathway analyses suggested that homologous recombination is defective in about half of tumors, and that Notch and FOXM1 signaling are involved in serous ovarian cancer pathophysiology.
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            Genomic and epigenomic landscapes of adult de novo acute myeloid leukemia.

            Many mutations that contribute to the pathogenesis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are undefined. The relationships between patterns of mutations and epigenetic phenotypes are not yet clear. We analyzed the genomes of 200 clinically annotated adult cases of de novo AML, using either whole-genome sequencing (50 cases) or whole-exome sequencing (150 cases), along with RNA and microRNA sequencing and DNA-methylation analysis. AML genomes have fewer mutations than most other adult cancers, with an average of only 13 mutations found in genes. Of these, an average of 5 are in genes that are recurrently mutated in AML. A total of 23 genes were significantly mutated, and another 237 were mutated in two or more samples. Nearly all samples had at least 1 nonsynonymous mutation in one of nine categories of genes that are almost certainly relevant for pathogenesis, including transcription-factor fusions (18% of cases), the gene encoding nucleophosmin (NPM1) (27%), tumor-suppressor genes (16%), DNA-methylation-related genes (44%), signaling genes (59%), chromatin-modifying genes (30%), myeloid transcription-factor genes (22%), cohesin-complex genes (13%), and spliceosome-complex genes (14%). Patterns of cooperation and mutual exclusivity suggested strong biologic relationships among several of the genes and categories. We identified at least one potential driver mutation in nearly all AML samples and found that a complex interplay of genetic events contributes to AML pathogenesis in individual patients. The databases from this study are widely available to serve as a foundation for further investigations of AML pathogenesis, classification, and risk stratification. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health.).
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              Comprehensive genomic characterization of squamous cell lung cancers

              Summary Lung squamous cell carcinoma (lung SqCC) is a common type of lung cancer, causing approximately 400,000 deaths per year worldwide. Genomic alterations in lung SqCC have not been comprehensively characterized and no molecularly targeted agents have been developed specifically for its treatment. As part of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), we profiled 178 lung SqCCs to provide a comprehensive landscape of genomic and epigenomic alterations. Lung SqCC is characterized by complex genomic alterations, with a mean of 360 exonic mutations, 165 genomic rearrangements, and 323 segments of copy number alteration per tumor. We found statistically recurrent mutations in 18 genes in including mutation of TP53 in nearly all specimens. Previously unreported loss-of-function mutations were seen in the HLA-A class I major histocompatibility gene. Significantly altered pathways included NFE2L2/KEAP1 in 34%, squamous differentiation genes in 44%, PI3K/AKT in 47%, and CDKN2A/RB1 in 72% of tumors. We identified a potential therapeutic target in the majority of tumors, offering new avenues of investigation for lung SqCC treatment.

                Author and article information

                Nature Publishing Group
                June 2014
                27 November 2013
                20 December 2013
                : 28
                : 6
                : 1227-1234
                [1 ]Department of Oncology, Hematology and Stem Cell Transplantation, RWTH Aachen University Medical School , Aachen, Germany
                [2 ]Institute for Biomedical Engineering—Cell Biology, RWTH Aachen University Medical School , Aachen, Germany
                [3 ]Helmholtz-Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Stem Cell Biology and Cellular Engineering, RWTH Aachen University Medical School , Aachen, Germany
                Author notes
                [* ]Helmholtz-Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Stem Cell Biology and Cellular Engineering, RWTH Aachen University Medical School , Pauwelsstrasse 20, Aachen 52074, Germany. E-mail: wwagner@

                These authors contributed equally to this work.

                Copyright © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit

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