[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Micropapillary carcinoma (MPC) is a rare histological special type of breast cancer, characterized by an aggressive clinical behavior and a pattern of copy number aberrations (CNAs) distinct from that of grade- and estrogen receptor (ER)-matched invasive carcinomas of no special type (IC-NSTs). The aims of this study were to determine whether MPCs are underpinned by a recurrent fusion gene(s) or mutations in 273 genes recurrently mutated in breast cancer. Sixteen MPCs were subjected to microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) analysis and Sequenom Oncocarta mutation analysis. Eight and five MPCs were subjected to targeted capture and RNA sequencing, respectively. aCGH analysis confirmed our previous observations about the repertoire of CNAs of MPCs. Sequencing analysis revealed a spectrum of mutations similar to those of luminal B IC-NSTs, and recurrent mutations affecting mitogen-activated protein kinase family genes and NBPF10. RNA-sequencing analysis identified 17 high-confidence fusion genes, eight of which were validated and 2 of which were in-frame. No recurrent fusions were identified in an independent series of MPCs and IC-NSTs. Forced expression of in-frame fusion genes (SLC2A1-FAF1 and BCAS4-AURKA) resulted in increased viability of breast cancer cells. In addition, genomic disruption of CDK12 caused by out-of-frame rearrangements was found in one MPC and in 13% of HER2-positive cancers, identified through a reanalysis of publicly available massively parallel sequencing data. In vitro analyses revealed that CDK12 gene disruption results in sensitivity to PARP inhibition and forced expression of wild-type CDK12 in a CDK12-null cell line model resulted in relative resistance to PARP inhibition. Our findings demonstrate that MPCs are neither defined by highly recurrent mutations in the 273 genes tested, nor underpinned by a recurrent fusion gene. Although seemingly private genetic events, some of the fusion transcripts found in MPCs may play a role in maintenance of a malignant phenotype and potentially offer therapeutic opportunities.
The Journal of Pathology 01/2014; · 7.59 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To characterize patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) for functional studies, we made whole-genome comparisons with originating breast cancers representative of the major intrinsic subtypes. Structural and copy number aberrations were found to be retained with high fidelity. However, at the single-nucleotide level, variable numbers of PDX-specific somatic events were documented, although they were only rarely functionally significant. Variant allele frequencies were often preserved in the PDXs, demonstrating that clonal representation can be transplantable. Estrogen-receptor-positive PDXs were associated with ESR1 ligand-binding-domain mutations, gene amplification, or an ESR1/YAP1 translocation. These events produced different endocrine-therapy-response phenotypes in human, cell line, and PDX endocrine-response studies. Hence, deeply sequenced PDX models are an important resource for the search for genome-forward treatment options and capture endocrine-drug-resistance etiologies that are not observed in standard cell lines. The originating tumor genome provides a benchmark for assessing genetic drift and clonal representation after transplantation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA damage and genetic rearrangements are hallmarks of cancer. However, gene fusions as driver mutations in cancer have classically been a distinction in leukemia and other rare instances until recently with the discovery of gene fusion events occurring in 50 to 75% of prostate cancer patients. The discovery of the TMPRSS2-ERG fusion sparked an onslaught of discovery and innovation resulting in a delineation of prostate cancer via a molecular signature of gene fusion events. The increased commonality of high-throughput sequencing data coupled with improved bioinformatics approaches not only elucidated the molecular underpinnings of prostate cancer progression, but the mechanisms of gene fusion biogenesis. Interestingly, the androgen receptor (AR), already known to play a significant role in prostate cancer tumorigenesis, has recently been implicated in the processes resulting in gene fusions by inducing the spatial proximity of genes involved in rearrangements, promoting the formation of double-strand DNA breaks (DSB), and facilitating the recruitment of proteins for non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ). Our increased understanding of the mechanisms inducing genomic instability may lead to improved diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. To date, the majority of prostate cancer patients can be molecularly stratified based on their gene fusion status thereby increasing the potential for tailoring more specific and effective therapies.
Current drug targets 02/2013; · 3.93 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common form of leukemia in adults in the Western hemisphere. Tumor-specific chromosomal translocations, characteristic findings in several human malignancies that directly lead to malignant transformation, have not been identified in CLL. Using paired-end transcriptome sequencing, we identified recurrent and reciprocal RNA chimeras involving yippee like 5 (YPEL5) and serine/threonine-protein phosphatase PP1-beta-catalytic subunit (PPP1CB) in CLL. Two of seven index cases (28%) harbored the reciprocal RNA chimeras in our initial screening. Using quantitative real-time PCR (q real-time PCR), YPEL5/PPP1CB and PPP1CB/YPEL5 fusion transcripts were detected in 97 of 103 CLL samples (95%) but not in paired normal samples, benign lymphocytes, or various unrelated cancers. Whole-genome sequencing and Southern blotting demonstrated no evidence for a genomic fusion between YPEL5 and PPP1CB. YPEL5/PPP1CB chimera, when introduced into mammalian cells, expressed a truncated PPP1CB protein that demonstrated diminished phosphatase activity. PPP1CB silencing resulted in enhanced proliferation and colony formation of MEC1 and JVM3 cells, implying a role in the pathogenesis of mature B-cell leukemia. These studies uncover a potential role for recurrent RNA chimeras involving phosphatases in the pathogenesis of a common form of leukemia.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2013; · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cell plasticity regulated by the balance between the mesenchymal to epithelial transition (MET) and the opposite program, EMT, is critical in the metastatic cascade. Several transcription factors (TFs) are known to regulate EMT, though the mechanisms of MET remain unclear. We demonstrate a novel function of two TFs, OVOL1 and OVOL2, as critical inducers of MET in human cancers. Our findings indicate that the OVOL-TFs control MET through a regulatory feedback loop with EMT-inducing TF ZEB1, and the regulation of mRNA splicing by inducing Epithelial Splicing Regulatory Protein 1 (ESRP1). Using mouse prostate tumor models we show that expression of OVOL-TFs in mesenchymal prostate cancer cells attenuates their metastatic potential. The role of OVOL-TFs as inducers of MET is further supported by expression analyses in 917 cancer cell lines, suggesting their role as crucial regulators of epithelial-mesenchymal cell plasticity in cancer.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(10):e76773. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PROM1 is the gene encoding prominin-1 or CD133, an important cell surface marker for the isolation of both normal and cancer stem cells. PROM1 transcripts initiate at a range of transcription start sites (TSS) associated with distinct tissue and cancer expression profiles. Using high resolution Cap Analysis of Gene Expression (CAGE) sequencing we characterize TSS utilization across a broad range of normal and developmental tissues. We identify a novel proximal promoter (P6) within CD133(+) melanoma cell lines and stem cells. Additional exon array sampling finds P6 to be active in populations enriched for mesenchyme, neural stem cells and within CD133(+) enriched Ewing sarcomas. The P6 promoter is enriched with respect to previously characterized PROM1 promoters for a HMGI/Y (HMGA1) family transcription factor binding site motif and exhibits different epigenetic modifications relative to the canonical promoter region of PROM1.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Histone methyltransferases (HMTases), as chromatin modifiers, regulate the transcriptomic landscape in normal development as well in diseases such as cancer. Here, we molecularly order two HMTases, EZH2 and MMSET, that have established genetic links to oncogenesis. EZH2, which mediates histone H3K27 trimethylation and is associated with gene silencing, was shown to be coordinately expressed and function upstream of MMSET, which mediates H3K36 dimethylation and is associated with active transcription. We found that the EZH2-MMSET HMTase axis is coordinated by a microRNA network and that the oncogenic functions of EZH2 require MMSET activity. Together, these results suggest that the EZH2-MMSET HMTase axis coordinately functions as a master regulator of transcriptional repression, activation, and oncogenesis and may represent an attractive therapeutic target in cancer.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report the results of whole-genome and transcriptome sequencing of tumor and adjacent normal tissue samples from 17 patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). We identified 3,726 point mutations and more than 90 indels in the coding sequence, with an average mutation frequency more than 10-fold higher in smokers than in never-smokers. Novel alterations in genes involved in chromatin modification and DNA repair pathways were identified, along with DACH1, CFTR, RELN, ABCB5, and HGF. Deep digital sequencing revealed diverse clonality patterns in both never-smokers and smokers. All validated EFGR and KRAS mutations were present in the founder clones, suggesting possible roles in cancer initiation. Analysis revealed 14 fusions, including ROS1 and ALK, as well as novel metabolic enzymes. Cell-cycle and JAK-STAT pathways are significantly altered in lung cancer, along with perturbations in 54 genes that are potentially targetable with currently available drugs.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lung squamous cell carcinoma is a common type of lung cancer, causing approximately 400,000 deaths per year worldwide. Genomic alterations in squamous cell lung cancers have not been comprehensively characterized, and no molecularly targeted agents have been specifically developed for its treatment. As part of The Cancer Genome Atlas, here we profile 178 lung squamous cell carcinomas to provide a comprehensive landscape of genomic and epigenomic alterations. We show that the tumour type is characterized by complex genomic alterations, with a mean of 360 exonic mutations, 165 genomic rearrangements, and 323 segments of copy number alteration per tumour. We find statistically recurrent mutations in 11 genes, including mutation of TP53 in nearly all specimens. Previously unreported loss-of-function mutations are seen in the HLA-A class I major histocompatibility gene. Significantly altered pathways included NFE2L2 and KEAP1 in 34%, squamous differentiation genes in 44%, phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase pathway genes in 47%, and CDKN2A and RB1 in 72% of tumours. We identified a potential therapeutic target in most tumours, offering new avenues of investigation for the treatment of squamous cell lung cancers.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To correlate the variable clinical features of oestrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer with somatic alterations, we studied pretreatment tumour biopsies accrued from patients in two studies of neoadjuvant aromatase inhibitor therapy by massively parallel sequencing and analysis. Eighteen significantly mutated genes were identified, including five genes (RUNX1, CBFB, MYH9, MLL3 and SF3B1) previously linked to haematopoietic disorders. Mutant MAP3K1 was associated with luminal A status, low-grade histology and low proliferation rates, whereas mutant TP53 was associated with the opposite pattern. Moreover, mutant GATA3 correlated with suppression of proliferation upon aromatase inhibitor treatment. Pathway analysis demonstrated that mutations in MAP2K4, a MAP3K1 substrate, produced similar perturbations as MAP3K1 loss. Distinct phenotypes in oestrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer are associated with specific patterns of somatic mutations that map into cellular pathways linked to tumour biology, but most recurrent mutations are relatively infrequent. Prospective clinical trials based on these findings will require comprehensive genome sequencing.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The current paradigm of cancer care relies on predictive nomograms which integrate detailed histopathology with clinical data. However, when predictions fail, the consequences for patients are often catastrophic, especially in prostate cancer where nomograms influence the decision to therapeutically intervene. We hypothesized that the high dimensional data afforded by massively parallel sequencing (MPS) is not only capable of providing biological insights, but may aid molecular pathology of prostate tumours. We assembled a cohort of six patients with high-risk disease, and performed deep RNA and shallow DNA sequencing in primary tumours and matched metastases where available. Our analysis identified copy number abnormalities, accurately profiled gene expression levels, and detected both differential splicing and expressed fusion genes. We revealed occult and potentially dormant metastases, unambiguously supporting the patients' clinical history, and implicated the REST transcriptional complex in the development of neuroendocrine prostate cancer, validating this finding in a large independent cohort. We massively expand on the number of novel fusion genes described in prostate cancer; provide fresh evidence for the growing link between fusion gene aetiology and gene expression profiles; and show the utility of fusion genes for molecular pathology. Finally, we identified chromothripsis in a patient with chronic prostatitis. Our results provide a strong foundation for further development of MPS-based molecular pathology.
The Journal of Pathology 05/2012; 227(3):286-97. · 7.59 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and neuroendocrine carcinoma of the prostate are invariably fatal diseases for which only palliative therapies exist. As part of a prostate tumor sequencing program, a patient tumor was analyzed using Illumina genome sequencing and a matched renal capsule tumor xenograft was generated. Both tumor and xenograft had a homozygous 9p21 deletion spanning the MTAP, CDKN2, and ARF genes. It is rare for this deletion to occur in primary prostate tumors, yet approximately 10% express decreased levels of methylthioadenosine phosphorylase (MTAP) mRNA. Decreased MTAP expression is a prognosticator for poor outcome. Moreover, it seems that this deletion is more common in CRPC than in primary prostate cancer. We show for the first time that treatment with methylthioadenosine and high dose 6-thioguanine causes marked inhibition of a patient-derived neuroendocrine xenograft growth while protecting the host from 6-thioguanine toxicity. This therapeutic approach can be applied to other MTAP-deficient human cancers as deletion or hypermethylation of the MTAP gene occurs in a broad spectrum of tumors at high frequency. The combination of genome sequencing and patient-derived xenografts can identify candidate therapeutic agents and evaluate them for personalized oncology.
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 03/2012; 11(3):775-83. · 5.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The unprecedented resolution of high-throughput genomics has enabled the recent discovery of a phenomenon by which specific regions of the genome are shattered and then stitched together via a single devastating event, referred to as chromothripsis. Potential mechanisms governing this process are now emerging, with implications for our understanding of the role of genomic rearrangements in development and disease.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Next-generation sequencing is making sequence-based molecular pathology and personalized oncology viable. We selected an individual initially diagnosed with conventional but aggressive prostate adenocarcinoma and sequenced the genome and transcriptome from primary and metastatic tissues collected prior to hormone therapy. The histology-pathology and copy number profiles were remarkably homogeneous, yet it was possible to propose the quadrant of the prostate tumour that likely seeded the metastatic diaspora. Despite a homogeneous cell type, our transcriptome analysis revealed signatures of both luminal and neuroendocrine cell types. Remarkably, the repertoire of expressed but apparently private gene fusions, including C15orf21:MYC, recapitulated this biology. We hypothesize that the amplification and over-expression of the stem cell gene MSI2 may have contributed to the stable hybrid cellular identity. This hybrid luminal-neuroendocrine tumour appears to represent a novel and highly aggressive case of prostate cancer with unique biological features and, conceivably, a propensity for rapid progression to castrate-resistance. Overall, this work highlights the importance of integrated analyses of genome, exome and transcriptome sequences for basic tumour biology, sequence-based molecular pathology and personalized oncology.
The Journal of Pathology 01/2012; 227(1):53-61. · 7.59 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease that has a wide range of molecular aberrations and clinical outcomes. Here we used paired-end transcriptome sequencing to explore the landscape of gene fusions in a panel of breast cancer cell lines and tissues. We observed that individual breast cancers have a variety of expressed gene fusions. We identified two classes of recurrent gene rearrangements involving genes encoding microtubule-associated serine-threonine kinase (MAST) and members of the Notch family. Both MAST and Notch-family gene fusions have substantial phenotypic effects in breast epithelial cells. Breast cancer cell lines harboring Notch gene rearrangements are uniquely sensitive to inhibition of Notch signaling, and overexpression of MAST1 or MAST2 gene fusions has a proliferative effect both in vitro and in vivo. These findings show that recurrent gene rearrangements have key roles in subsets of carcinomas and suggest that transcriptome sequencing could identify individuals with rare, targetable gene fusions.
Nature medicine 11/2011; 17(12):1646-51. · 27.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Snail1 is a zinc finger transcriptional repressor whose pathological expression has been linked to cancer cell epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) programs and the induction of tissue-invasive activity, but pro-oncogenic events capable of regulating Snail1 activity remain largely uncharacterized. Herein, we demonstrate that p53 loss-of-function or mutation promotes cancer cell EMT by de-repressing Snail1 protein expression and activity. In the absence of wild-type p53 function, Snail1-dependent EMT is activated in colon, breast, and lung carcinoma cells as a consequence of a decrease in miRNA-34 levels, which suppress Snail1 activity by binding to highly conserved 3' untranslated regions in Snail1 itself as well as those of key Snail1 regulatory molecules, including β-catenin, LEF1, and Axin2. Although p53 activity can impact cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, and DNA repair pathways, the EMT and invasion programs initiated by p53 loss of function or mutation are completely dependent on Snail1 expression. These results identify a new link between p53, miR-34, and Snail1 in the regulation of cancer cell EMT programs.
The Journal of Cell Biology 10/2011; 195(3):417-33. · 10.82 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prostate cancer is a common heterogeneous disease, and most patients diagnosed in the post prostate-specific antigen (PSA) era present with clinically localized disease, the majority of which do well regardless of treatment regimen undertaken. Overall, those with advanced prostate cancer at time of diagnosis do poorly after androgen withdrawal therapy. Understanding the biologic underpinning of prostate cancer is necessary to best determine the risk of disease progression and would be advantageous for the development of novel therapeutic approaches to impede or prevent disease. This review focuses on the recently identified common ETS and non-ETS gene rearrangements in prostate cancer. Although multiple molecular alterations have been detected in prostate cancer, a detailed understanding of gene fusion prostate cancer should help explain the clinical and biologic diversity, providing a rationale for a molecular subclassification of the disease.
Journal of Clinical Oncology 08/2011; 29(27):3659-68. · 18.04 Impact Factor