[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background The incidence of hematologic cancers increases with age. These cancers are associated with recurrent somatic mutations in specific genes. We hypothesized that such mutations would be detectable in the blood of some persons who are not known to have hematologic disorders. Methods We analyzed whole-exome sequencing data from DNA in the peripheral-blood cells of 17,182 persons who were unselected for hematologic phenotypes. We looked for somatic mutations by identifying previously characterized single-nucleotide variants and small insertions or deletions in 160 genes that are recurrently mutated in hematologic cancers. The presence of mutations was analyzed for an association with hematologic phenotypes, survival, and cardiovascular events. Results Detectable somatic mutations were rare in persons younger than 40 years of age but rose appreciably in frequency with age. Among persons 70 to 79 years of age, 80 to 89 years of age, and 90 to 108 years of age, these clonal mutations were observed in 9.5% (219 of 2300 persons), 11.7% (37 of 317), and 18.4% (19 of 103), respectively. The majority of the variants occurred in three genes: DNMT3A, TET2, and ASXL1. The presence of a somatic mutation was associated with an increase in the risk of hematologic cancer (hazard ratio, 11.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.9 to 32.6), an increase in all-cause mortality (hazard ratio, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.1 to 1.8), and increases in the risks of incident coronary heart disease (hazard ratio, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.2 to 3.4) and ischemic stroke (hazard ratio, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.4 to 4.8). Conclusions Age-related clonal hematopoiesis is a common condition that is associated with increases in the risk of hematologic cancer and in all-cause mortality, with the latter possibly due to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.).
New England Journal of Medicine 11/2014; · 54.42 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genomic studies have identified somatic alterations in the majority of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) patients, including JAK2 mutations in the majority of MPN patients and CALR mutations in JAK2-negative MPN patients. However, the role of JAK-STAT pathway activation in different MPNs, and in patients without JAK2 mutations, has not been definitively delineated. We used expression profiling, SNP arrays, and mutational profiling to investigate a well-characterized cohort of MPN patients. MPN patients with homozygous JAK2V617F mutations were characterized by a distinctive transcriptional profile. Notably, a transcriptional signature consistent with activated JAK2 signaling is seen in all MPN patients regardless of clinical phenotype or mutational status. In addition, the activated JAK2 signature was present in patients with somatic CALR mutations. Conversely, we identified a gene expression signature of CALR mutations; this signature was significantly enriched in JAK2-mutant MPN patients consistent with a shared mechanism of transformation by JAK2 and CALR mutations. We also identified a transcriptional signature of TET2 mutations in MPN patent samples. Our data indicate that MPN patients, regardless of diagnosis or JAK2 mutational status are characterized by a distinct gene expression signature with upregulation of JAK-STAT target genes, demonstrating the central importance of the JAK-STAT pathway in MPN pathogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although a few cancer genes are mutated in a high proportion of tumours of a given type (>20%), most are mutated at intermediate frequencies (2-20%). To explore the feasibility of creating a comprehensive catalogue of cancer genes, we analysed somatic point mutations in exome sequences from 4,742 human cancers and their matched normal-tissue samples across 21 cancer types. We found that large-scale genomic analysis can identify nearly all known cancer genes in these tumour types. Our analysis also identified 33 genes that were not previously known to be significantly mutated in cancer, 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 600-5,000 samples per tumour type, depending on background mutation frequency. The results may help to guide the next stage of cancer genomics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pathologists and informaticians are becoming increasingly interested in electronic clinical decision support for pathology, laboratory medicine and clinical diagnosis. Improved decision support may optimize laboratory test selection, improve test result interpretation and permit the extraction of enhanced diagnostic information from existing laboratory data. Nonetheless, the field of pathology decision support is still developing. To facilitate the exchange of ideas and preliminary studies, we convened a symposium entitled: Pathology data integration and clinical decision support.
The symposium was held at the Massachusetts General Hospital, on May 10, 2013. Participants were selected to represent diverse backgrounds and interests and were from nine different institutions in eight different states.
The day included 16 plenary talks and three panel discussions, together covering four broad areas. Summaries of each presentation are included in this manuscript.
A number of recurrent themes emerged from the symposium. Among the most pervasive was the dichotomy between diagnostic data and diagnostic information, including the opportunities that laboratories may have to use electronic systems and algorithms to convert the data they generate into more useful information. Differences between human talents and computer abilities were described; well-designed symbioses between humans and computers may ultimately optimize diagnosis. Another key theme related to the unique needs and challenges in providing decision support for genomics and other emerging diagnostic modalities. Finally, many talks relayed how the barriers to bringing decision support toward reality are primarily personnel, political, infrastructural and administrative challenges rather than technological limitations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Determining how somatic copy number alterations (SCNAs) promote cancer is an important goal. We characterized SCNA patterns in 4,934 cancers from The Cancer Genome Atlas Pan-Cancer data set. Whole-genome doubling, observed in 37% of cancers, was associated with higher rates of every other type of SCNA, TP53 mutations, CCNE1 amplifications and alterations of the PPP2R complex. SCNAs that were internal to chromosomes tended to be shorter than telomere-bounded SCNAs, suggesting different mechanisms underlying their generation. Significantly recurrent focal SCNAs were observed in 140 regions, including 102 without known oncogene or tumor suppressor gene targets and 50 with significantly mutated genes. Amplified regions without known oncogenes were enriched for genes involved in epigenetic regulation. When levels of genomic disruption were accounted for, 7% of region pairs were anticorrelated, and these regions tended to encompass genes whose proteins physically interact, suggesting related functions. These results provide insights into mechanisms of generation and functional consequences of cancer-related SCNAs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Major international projects are underway that are aimed at creating a comprehensive catalogue of all the genes responsible for the initiation and progression of cancer. These studies involve the sequencing of matched tumour-normal samples followed by mathematical analysis to identify those genes in which mutations occur more frequently than expected by random chance. Here we describe a fundamental problem with cancer genome studies: as the sample size increases, the list of putatively significant genes produced by current analytical methods burgeons into the hundreds. The list includes many implausible genes (such as those encoding olfactory receptors and the muscle protein titin), suggesting extensive false-positive findings that overshadow true driver events. We show that this problem stems largely from mutational heterogeneity and provide a novel analytical methodology, MutSigCV, for resolving the problem. We apply MutSigCV to exome sequences from 3,083 tumour-normal pairs and discover extraordinary variation in mutation frequency and spectrum within cancer types, which sheds light on mutational processes and disease aetiology, and in mutation frequency across the genome, which is strongly correlated with DNA replication timing and also with transcriptional activity. By incorporating mutational heterogeneity into the analyses, MutSigCV is able to eliminate most of the apparent artefactual findings and enable the identification of genes truly associated with cancer.