Article

Detectable clonal mosaicism from birth to old age and its relationship to cancer.

Department of Biostatistics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.
Nature Genetics (Impact Factor: 29.65). 05/2012; 44(6):642-50. DOI: 10.1038/ng.2271
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We detected clonal mosaicism for large chromosomal anomalies (duplications, deletions and uniparental disomy) using SNP microarray data from over 50,000 subjects recruited for genome-wide association studies. This detection method requires a relatively high frequency of cells with the same abnormal karyotype (>5-10%; presumably of clonal origin) in the presence of normal cells. The frequency of detectable clonal mosaicism in peripheral blood is low (<0.5%) from birth until 50 years of age, after which it rapidly rises to 2-3% in the elderly. Many of the mosaic anomalies are characteristic of those found in hematological cancers and identify common deleted regions with genes previously associated with these cancers. Although only 3% of subjects with detectable clonal mosaicism had any record of hematological cancer before DNA sampling, those without a previous diagnosis have an estimated tenfold higher risk of a subsequent hematological cancer (95% confidence interval = 6-18).

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    ABSTRACT: Background Cancers arise from multiple acquired mutations, which presumably occur over many years. Early stages in cancer development might be present years before cancers become clinically apparent. Methods We analyzed data from whole-exome sequencing of DNA in peripheral-blood cells from 12,380 persons, unselected for cancer or hematologic phenotypes. We identified somatic mutations on the basis of unusual allelic fractions. We used data from Swedish national patient registers to follow health outcomes for 2 to 7 years after DNA sampling. Results Clonal hematopoiesis with somatic mutations was observed in 10% of persons older than 65 years of age but in only 1% of those younger than 50 years of age. Detectable clonal expansions most frequently involved somatic mutations in three genes (DNMT3A, ASXL1, and TET2) that have previously been implicated in hematologic cancers. Clonal hematopoiesis was a strong risk factor for subsequent hematologic cancer (hazard ratio, 12.9; 95% confidence interval, 5.8 to 28.7). Approximately 42% of hematologic cancers in this cohort arose in persons who had clonality at the time of DNA sampling, more than 6 months before a first diagnosis of cancer. Analysis of bone marrow-biopsy specimens obtained from two patients at the time of diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia revealed that their cancers arose from the earlier clones. Conclusions Clonal hematopoiesis with somatic mutations is readily detected by means of DNA sequencing, is increasingly common as people age, and is associated with increased risks of hematologic cancer and death. A subset of the genes that are mutated in patients with myeloid cancers is frequently mutated in apparently healthy persons; these mutations may represent characteristic early events in the development of hematologic cancers. (Funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute and others.).
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    ABSTRACT: Somatic mosaicism refers to the occurrence of two genetically distinct populations of cells within an individual, derived from a postzygotic mutation. In contrast to inherited mutations, somatic mosaic mutations may affect only a portion of the body and are not transmitted to progeny. These mutations affect varying genomic sizes ranging from single nucleotides to entire chromosomes and have been implicated in disease, most prominently cancer. The phenotypic consequences of somatic mosaicism are dependent upon many factors including the developmental time at which the mutation occurs, the areas of the body that are affected, and the pathophysiological effect(s) of the mutation. The advent of second-generation sequencing technologies has augmented existing array-based and cytogenetic approaches for the identification of somatic mutations. We outline the strengths and weaknesses of these techniques and highlight recent insights into the role of somatic mosaicism in causing cancer, neurodegenerative, monogenic, and complex disease.
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    ABSTRACT: It is assumed that DNA sequences are conserved in the diverse cell types present in a multicellular organism like the human being. Thus, in order to compare the sequences in the genome of DNA from different individuals, nucleic acid is commonly isolated from a single tissue. In this regard, blood cells are widely used for this purpose because of their availability. Thus blood DNA has been used to study genetic familiar diseases that affect other tissues and organs, such as the liver, heart, and brain. While this approach is valid for the identification of familial diseases in which mutations are present in parental germinal cells and, therefore, in all the cells of a given organism, it is not suitable to identify sporadic diseases in which mutations might occur in specific somatic cells. This review addresses somatic DNA variations in different tissues or cells (mainly in the brain) of single individuals and discusses whether the dogma of DNA invariance between cell types is indeed correct. We will also discuss how single nucleotide somatic variations arise, focusing on the presence of specific DNA mutations in the brain.

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