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A Comprehensive Infrastructure for Big Data in Cancer Research: Accelerating Cancer Research and Precision Medicine

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      Abstract

      Advancements in next-generation sequencing and other -omics technologies are accelerating the detailed molecular characterization of individual patient tumors, and driving the evolution of precision medicine. Cancer is no longer considered a single disease, but rather, a diverse array of diseases wherein each patient has a unique collection of germline variants and somatic mutations. Molecular profiling of patient-derived samples has led to a data explosion that could help us understand the contributions of environment and germline to risk, therapeutic response, and outcome. To maximize the value of these data, an interdisciplinary approach is paramount. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has initiated multiple projects to characterize tumor samples using multi-omic approaches. These projects harness the expertise of clinicians, biologists, computer scientists, and software engineers to investigate cancer biology and therapeutic response in multidisciplinary teams. Petabytes of cancer genomic, transcriptomic, epigenomic, proteomic, and imaging data have been generated by these projects. To address the data analysis challenges associated with these large datasets, the NCI has sponsored the development of the Genomic Data Commons (GDC) and three Cloud Resources. The GDC ensures data and metadata quality, ingests and harmonizes genomic data, and securely redistributes the data. During its pilot phase, the Cloud Resources tested multiple cloud-based approaches for enhancing data access, collaboration, computational scalability, resource democratization, and reproducibility. These NCI-led efforts are continuously being refined to better support open data practices and precision oncology, and to serve as building blocks of the NCI Cancer Research Data Commons.

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      Most cited references 22

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      Comprehensive molecular portraits of human breast tumors

      Summary We analyzed primary breast cancers by genomic DNA copy number arrays, DNA methylation, exome sequencing, mRNA arrays, microRNA sequencing and reverse phase protein arrays. Our ability to integrate information across platforms provided key insights into previously-defined gene expression subtypes and demonstrated the existence of four main breast cancer classes when combining data from five platforms, each of which shows significant molecular heterogeneity. Somatic mutations in only three genes (TP53, PIK3CA and GATA3) occurred at > 10% incidence across all breast cancers; however, there were numerous subtype-associated and novel gene mutations including the enrichment of specific mutations in GATA3, PIK3CA and MAP3K1 with the Luminal A subtype. We identified two novel protein expression-defined subgroups, possibly contributed by stromal/microenvironmental elements, and integrated analyses identified specific signaling pathways dominant in each molecular subtype including a HER2/p-HER2/HER1/p-HER1 signature within the HER2-Enriched expression subtype. Comparison of Basal-like breast tumors with high-grade Serous Ovarian tumors showed many molecular commonalities, suggesting a related etiology and similar therapeutic opportunities. The biologic finding of the four main breast cancer subtypes caused by different subsets of genetic and epigenetic abnormalities raises the hypothesis that much of the clinically observable plasticity and heterogeneity occurs within, and not across, these major biologic subtypes of breast cancer.
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        Comprehensive genomic characterization defines human glioblastoma genes and core pathways

          (2008)
        Human cancer cells typically harbor multiple chromosomal aberrations, nucleotide substitutions and epigenetic modifications that drive malignant transformation. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) pilot project aims to assess the value of large-scale multidimensional analysis of these molecular characteristics in human cancer and to provide the data rapidly to the research community. Here, we report the interim integrative analysis of DNA copy number, gene expression and DNA methylation aberrations in 206 glioblastomas (GBM), the most common type of adult brain cancer, and nucleotide sequence aberrations in 91 of the 206 GBMs. This analysis provides new insights into the roles of ERBB2, NF1 and TP53, uncovers frequent mutations of the PI3 kinase regulatory subunit gene PIK3R1, and provides a network view of the pathways altered in the development of GBM. Furthermore, integration of mutation, DNA methylation and clinical treatment data reveals a link between MGMT promoter methylation and a hypermutator phenotype consequent to mismatch repair deficiency in treated glioblastomas, an observation with potential clinical implications. Together, these findings establish the feasibility and power of TCGA, demonstrating that it can rapidly expand knowledge of the molecular basis of cancer.
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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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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            1Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology, National Cancer Institute Rockville, MD, United States
            2Science and Technology Policy Fellowship Program, American Association for the Advancement of Science Washington, DC, United States
            3Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Duke University School of Medicine Durham, NC, United States
            Author notes

            Edited by: Angela Re, University of Trento, Italy

            Reviewed by: Fahd Al-Mulla, Genatak, Kuwait; Lawrence Schook, University of Illinois at Chicago, United States

            *Correspondence: Anthony R. Kerlavage anthony.kerlavage@ 123456nih.gov

            This article was submitted to Molecular and Cellular Oncology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology

            Contributors
            Journal
            Front Cell Dev Biol
            Front Cell Dev Biol
            Front. Cell Dev. Biol.
            Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
            Frontiers Media S.A.
            2296-634X
            21 September 2017
            2017
            : 5
            5613113 10.3389/fcell.2017.00083
            Copyright © 2017 Hinkson, Davidsen, Klemm, Kerlavage and Kibbe.

            This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

            Counts
            Figures: 1, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 28, Pages: 7, Words: 4964
            Funding
            Funded by: National Cancer Institute 10.13039/100000054
            Award ID: HHSN261200800001E
            Award ID: HHSN261201400006C
            Award ID: HHSN261201400007C
            Award ID: HHSN261201400008C
            Categories
            Cell and Developmental Biology
            Perspective

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