[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The predominant view of pluripotency regulation proposes a stable ground state with coordinated expression of key transcription factors (TFs) that prohibit differentiation. Another perspective suggests a more complexly regulated state involving competition between multiple lineage-specifying TFs that define pluripotency. These contrasting views were developed from extensive analyses of TFs in pluripotent cells in vitro. An experimentally-validated, genome-wide repertoire of the regulatory interactions that control pluripotency within the in vivo cellular contexts is yet to be developed. To address this limitation, we assembled a TF interactome of adult human male germ cell tumors (GCTs) using the Algorithm for the Accurate Reconstruction of Cellular Pathways (ARACNe) to analyze gene expression profiles of 141 tumors comprising pluripotent and differentiated subsets. The network (GCTNet) comprised 1305 TFs, and its Ingenuity Pathway analysis identified pluripotency and embryonal development as the top functional pathways. We experimentally validated GCTNet by functional (silencing) and biochemical (ChIP-seq) analysis of the core pluripotency regulatory TFs POU5F1, NANOG, and SOX2 in relation to their targets predicted by ARACNe. To define the extent of the in vivo pluripotency network in this system, we ranked all TFs in the GCTNet according to sharing of ARACNe-predicted targets with those of POU5F1 and NANOG using an Odds-Ratio analysis method. To validate this network, we silenced the top 10 TFs in the network in H9 ES cells. Silencing of each led to downregulation of pluripotency and induction of lineage; 7 of the 10 TFs were identified as pluripotency regulators for the first time. Stem Cells 2014
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma (PLGA) is the second most frequent type of malignant tumor of the minor salivary glands. We identified PRKD1 hotspot mutations encoding p.Glu710Asp in 72.9% of PLGAs but not in other salivary gland tumors. Functional studies demonstrated that this kinase-activating alteration likely constitutes a driver of PLGA.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) represent a group of highly aggressive soft-tissue sarcomas that may occur sporadically, in association with neurofibromatosis type I (NF1 associated) or after radiotherapy. Using comprehensive genomic approaches, we identified loss-of-function somatic alterations of the Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) components (EED or SUZ12) in 92% of sporadic, 70% of NF1-associated and 90% of radiotherapy-associated MPNSTs. MPNSTs with PRC2 loss showed complete loss of trimethylation at lysine 27 of histone H3 (H3K27me3) and aberrant transcriptional activation of multiple PRC2-repressed homeobox master regulators and their regulated developmental pathways. Introduction of the lost PRC2 component in a PRC2-deficient MPNST cell line restored H3K27me3 levels and decreased cell growth. Additionally, we identified frequent somatic alterations of CDKN2A (81% of all MPNSTs) and NF1 (72% of non-NF1-associated MPNSTs), both of which significantly co-occur with PRC2 alterations. The highly recurrent and specific inactivation of PRC2 components, NF1 and CDKN2A highlights their critical and potentially cooperative roles in MPNST pathogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, with over 50,000 deaths estimated in 2014. Molecular profiling for somatic mutations that predict absence of response to anti-EGFR therapy has become standard practice in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer; however, the quantity and type of tissue available for testing is frequently limited. Further, the degree to which the primary tumor is a faithful representation of metastatic disease has been questioned. As next-generation sequencing technology becomes more widely available for clinical use and additional molecularly targeted agents are considered as treatment options in colorectal cancer, it is important to characterize the extent of tumor heterogeneity between primary and metastatic tumors.ResultsWe performed deep coverage, targeted next-generation sequencing of 230 key cancer-associated genes for 69 matched primary and metastatic tumors and normal tissue. Mutation profiles were 100% concordant for KRAS, NRAS, and BRAF, and were highly concordant for recurrent alterations in colorectal cancer. Additionally, whole genome sequencing of four patient trios did not reveal any additional site-specific targetable alterations.Conclusions
Colorectal cancer primary tumors and metastases exhibit high genomic concordance. As current clinical practices in colorectal cancer revolve around KRAS, NRAS, and BRAF mutation status, diagnostic sequencing of either primary or metastatic tissue as available is acceptable for most patients. Additionally, consistency between targeted sequencing and whole genome sequencing results suggests that targeted sequencing may be a suitable strategy for clinical diagnostic applications.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) greatly expands the potential for genomics discoveries, but the wide variety of platforms, protocols and performance capabilitites has created the need for comprehensive reference data. Here we describe the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities next-generation sequencing (ABRF-NGS) study on RNA-seq. We carried out replicate experiments across 15 laboratory sites using reference RNA standards to test four protocols (poly-A-selected, ribo-depleted, size-selected and degraded) on five sequencing platforms (Illumina HiSeq, Life Technologies PGM and Proton, Pacific Biosciences RS and Roche 454). The results show high intraplatform (Spearman rank R > 0.86) and inter-platform (R > 0.83) concordance for expression measures across the deep-count platforms, but highly variable efficiency and cost for splice junction and variant detection between all platforms. For intact RNA, gene expression profiles from rRNA-depletion and poly-A enrichment are similar. In addition, rRNA depletion enables effective analysis of degraded RNA samples. This study provides a broad foundation for cross-platform standardization, evaluation and improvement of RNA-seq.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Highly diverse bacterial populations inhabit the gastrointestinal tract and modulate host inflammation and promote immune tolerance. In allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT), the gastrointestinal mucosa is damaged, and colonizing bacteria are impacted, leading to an impaired intestinal microbiota with reduced diversity. We examined the impact of intestinal diversity on subsequent mortality outcomes following transplantation. Fecal specimens were collected from 80 recipients of allo-HSCT at the time of stem cell engraftment. Bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequences were characterized, and microbial diversity was estimated using the inverse Simpson index. Subjects were classified into high, intermediate, and low diversity groups, and assessed for differences in outcomes. Mortality outcomes were significantly worse in patients with lower intestinal diversity; overall survival at three years was 36%, 60%, and 67% for low, intermediate, and high diversity groups, respectively (log-rank P=0.019). Low diversity showed a strong effect on mortality after multivariate adjustment for other clinical predictors (transplant related mortality: adjusted-HR 5.25, P=0.014). In conclusion, the diversity of the intestinal microbiota at engraftment is an independent predictor of mortality in allo-HSCT recipients. These results indicate that the intestinal microbiota may be an important factor in the success or failure in allo-HSCT.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Metastatic solid tumors are almost invariably fatal. Patients with disseminated small-cell cancers have a particularly unfavorable prognosis with most succumbing to their disease within two years. Here, we report on the genetic and functional analysis of an outlier curative response of a patient with metastatic small cell cancer to combined checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1) inhibition and DNA damaging chemotherapy. Whole-genome sequencing revealed a clonal hemizygous mutation in the Mre11 complex gene RAD50 that attenuated ATM signaling which in the context of Chk1 inhibition contributed, via synthetic lethality, to extreme sensitivity to irinotecan. As Mre11 mutations occur in a diversity of human tumors, the results suggest a tumor-specific combination therapy strategy whereby checkpoint inhibition in combination with DNA damaging chemotherapy is synthetically lethal in tumor but not normal cells with somatic mutations that impair Mre11 complex function.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Loss of cell cycle controls is a hallmark of cancer and has a well-established role in aggressive B cell malignancies. However, the role of such lesions in indolent follicular lymphoma (FL) is unclear and individual lesions have been observed with low frequency. By analyzing genomic data from two large cohorts of indolent FLs, we identify a pattern of mutually exclusive (P = 0.003) genomic lesions that impair the retinoblastoma (RB) pathway in nearly 50% of FLs. These alterations include homozygous and heterozygous deletions of the p16/CDKN2a/b (7%) and RB1 (12%) loci, and more frequent gains of chromosome 12 that include CDK4 (29%). These aberrations are associated with high-risk disease by the FL prognostic index (FLIPI), and studies in a murine FL model confirm their pathogenic role in indolent FL. Increased CDK4 kinase activity toward RB1 is readily measured in tumor samples and indicates an opportunity for CDK4 inhibition. We find that dual CDK4 and BCL2 inhibitor treatment is safe and effective against available models of FL. In summary, frequent RB pathway lesions in indolent, high-risk FLs indicate an untapped therapeutic opportunity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of skeletal muscle lineage, is the most common soft-tissue sarcoma in children. Major subtypes of rhabdomyosarcoma include alveolar (ARMS) and embryonal (ERMS) tumors. Whereas ARMS tumors typically contain translocations generating PAX3-FOXO1 or PAX7-FOXO1 fusions that block terminal myogenic differentiation, no functionally comparable genetic event has been found in ERMS tumors. Here we report the discovery, through whole-exome sequencing, of a recurrent somatic mutation encoding p.Leu122Arg in the myogenic transcription factor MYOD1 in a distinct subset of ERMS tumors with poor outcomes that also often contain mutations altering PI3K-AKT pathway components. Previous mutagenesis studies had shown that MYOD1 with a p.Leu122Arg substitution can block wild-type MYOD1 function and bind to MYC consensus sequences, suggesting a possible switch from differentiation to proliferation. Our functional data now confirm this prediction. Thus, MYOD1 p.Leu122Arg defines a subset of rhabdomyosarcomas eligible for high-risk protocols and the development of targeted therapeutics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coordinate control of different classes of cyclins is fundamentally important for cell cycle regulation and tumor suppression, yet the underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood. Here we show that the PARK2 tumor suppressor mediates this coordination. The PARK2 E3 ubiquitin ligase coordinately controls the stability of both cyclin D and cyclin E. Analysis of approximately 5,000 tumor genomes shows that PARK2 is a very frequently deleted gene in human cancer and uncovers a striking pattern of mutual exclusivity between PARK2 deletion and amplification of CCND1, CCNE1 or CDK4-implicating these genes in a common pathway. Inactivation of PARK2 results in the accumulation of cyclin D and acceleration of cell cycle progression. Furthermore, PARK2 is a component of a new class of cullin-RING-containing ubiquitin ligases targeting both cyclin D and cyclin E for degradation. Thus, PARK2 regulates cyclin-CDK complexes, as does the CDK inhibitor p16, but acts as a master regulator of the stability of G1/S cyclins.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rapalogs are allosteric mTOR inhibitors and approved agents for advanced kidney cancer. Reports of clonal heterogeneity in this disease challenge the concept of targeted monotherapy, yet a small subset of patients derives extended benefit. Our aim was to analyze such outliers and explore the genomic background of extreme rapalog sensitivity in the context of intratumor heterogeneity.
We analyzed archived tumor tissue of five RCC patients, who previously achieved durable disease control with rapalogs (median duration 28 months). DNA was extracted from spatially separate areas of primary tumors and metastases. Custom target capture and ultra-deep sequencing was used to identify alterations across 230 target genes. Whole exome sequence analysis was added to investigate genes beyond this original target list.
Five long-term responders contributed 14 specimens to explore clonal heterogeneity. Genomic alterations with activating effect on mTOR signaling were detected in 11 of 14 specimens, offering plausible explanation for exceptional treatment response through alterations in two genes (TSC1, MTOR). In two subjects, distinct yet functionally convergent alterations activated the mTOR pathway in spatially separate sites. In one patient, concurrent genomic events occurred in two separate pathway components across different tumor regions.
Analysis of outlier cases can facilitate identification of potential biomarkers for targeted agents, and we implicate two genes as candidates for further study in this class of drugs. The previously reported phenomenon of clonal convergence can occur within a targetable pathway which might have implications for biomarker development beyond this disease and this class of agents.
Clinical Cancer Research 03/2014; · 7.84 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vemurafenib, a RAF inhibitor, extends survival in patients with BRAFV600-mutant melanoma but activates ERK signaling in RAS-mutant cells. In a patient with a BRAFV600K-mutant melanoma responding to vemurafenib, we observed accelerated progression of a previously unrecognized NRAS-mutant leukemia. We hypothesized that combining vemurafenib with a MEK inhibitor would inhibit ERK activation in the melanoma and prevent ERK activation by vemurafenib in the leukemia and thus suppress both malignancies. We demonstrate that intermittent administration of vemurafenib led to a near-complete remission of the melanoma and the addition of the MEK inhibitor cobimetinib (GDC-0973) caused suppression of vemurafenib-induced leukemic proliferation and ERK activation. Anti-melanoma and anti-leukemia response have been maintained for nearly 20 months as documented by serial measurements of tumor-derived DNA in plasma in addition to conventional radiographic and clinical assessments of response. These data support testing of intermittent ERK pathway inhibition in the therapy of both RAS-mutant leukemia and BRAF-mutant melanoma.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although family history is a risk factor for pancreatic adenocarcinoma, much of the genetic etiology of this disease remains unknown. While genome-wide association studies have identified some common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with pancreatic cancer risk, these SNPs do not explain all the heritability of this disease. We hypothesized that copy number variation (CNVs) in the genome may play a role in genetic predisposition to pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Here, we report a genome-wide analysis of CNVs in a small hospital-based, European ancestry cohort of pancreatic cancer cases and controls. Germline CNV discovery was performed using the Illumina Human CNV370 platform in 223 pancreatic cancer cases (both sporadic and familial) and 169 controls. Following stringent quality control, we asked if global CNV burden was a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. Finally, we performed in silico CNV genotyping and association testing to discover novel CNV risk loci. When we examined the global CNV burden, we found no strong evidence that CNV burden plays a role in pancreatic cancer risk either overall or specifically in individuals with a family history of the disease. Similarly, we saw no significant evidence that any particular CNV is associated with pancreatic cancer risk. Taken together, these data suggest that CNVs do not contribute substantially to the genetic etiology of pancreatic cancer, though the results are tempered by small sample size and large experimental variability inherent in array-based CNV studies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The development of breast cancer metastasis is accompanied by dynamic transcriptome changes and dramatic alterations in nuclear and chromatin structure. The basis of these changes is incompletely understood. The DNA methylome of primary breast cancers contribute to transcriptomic heterogeneity and different metastatic behavior. Therefore we sought to characterize methylome remodeling during regional metastasis. We profiled the DNA methylome and transcriptome of 44 matched primary breast tumors and regional metastases. Striking subtype-specific patterns of metastasis-associated methylome remodeling were observed, which reflected the molecular heterogeneity of breast cancers. These divergent changes occurred primarily in CpG island (CGI)-poor areas. Regions of methylome reorganization shared by the subtypes were also observed, and we were able to identify a metastasis-specific methylation signature that was present across the breast cancer subclasses. These alterations also occurred outside of CGIs and promoters, including sequences flanking CGIs and intergenic sequences. Integrated analysis of methylation and gene expression identified genes whose expression correlated with metastasis-specific methylation. Together, these findings significantly enhance our understanding of the epigenetic reorganization that occurs during regional breast cancer metastasis across the major breast cancer subtypes and reveal the nature of methylome remodeling during this process.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(8):e103896. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intragenic deletion is the most common form of activating mutation among receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) in glioblastoma. However, these events are not detected by conventional DNA sequencing methods commonly utilized for tumor genotyping. To comprehensively assess the frequency, distribution, and expression levels of common RTK deletion mutants in glioblastoma, we analyzed RNA from a set of 192 glioblastoma samples from The Cancer Genome Atlas for the expression of EGFRvIII, EGFRvII, EGFRvV (carboxyl-terminal deletion), and PDGFRAΔ8,9. These mutations were detected in 24, 1.6, 4.7, and 1.6 % of cases, respectively. Overall, 29 % (55/189) of glioblastomas expressed at least one RTK intragenic deletion transcript in this panel. For EGFRvIII, samples were analyzed by both quantitative real-time PCR (QRT-PCR) and single mRNA molecule counting on the Nanostring nCounter platform. Nanostring proved to be highly sensitive, specific, and linear, with sensitivity comparable or exceeding that of RNA seq. We evaluated the prognostic significance and molecular correlates of RTK rearrangements. EGFRvIII was only detectable in tumors with focal amplification of the gene. Moreover, we found that EGFRvIII expression was not prognostic of poor outcome and that neither recurrent copy number alterations nor global changes in gene expression differentiate EGFRvIII-positive tumors from tumors with amplification of wild-type EGFR. The wide range of expression of mutant alleles and co-expression of multiple EGFR variants suggests that quantitative RNA-based clinical assays will be important for assessing the relative expression of intragenic deletions as therapeutic targets and/or candidate biomarkers. To this end, we demonstrate the performance of the Nanostring assay in RNA derived from routinely collected formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Exposure to ionizing radiation during childhood markedly increases the risk of developing papillary thyroid cancer. We examined tissues from 26 Ukrainian patients with thyroid cancer who were younger than 10 years of age and living in contaminated areas during the time of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident. We identified nonoverlapping somatic driver mutations in all 26 cases through candidate gene assays and next-generation RNA sequencing. We found that 22 tumors harbored fusion oncogenes that arose primarily through intrachromosomal rearrangements. Altogether, 23 of the oncogenic drivers identified in this cohort aberrantly activate MAPK signaling, including the 2 somatic rearrangements resulting in fusion of transcription factor ETS variant 6 (ETV6) with neurotrophic tyrosine kinase receptor, type 3 (NTRK3) and fusion of acylglycerol kinase (AGK) with BRAF. Two other tumors harbored distinct fusions, leading to overexpression of the nuclear receptor PPARγ. Fusion oncogenes were less prevalent in tumors from a cohort of children with pediatric thyroid cancers that had not been exposed to radiation but were from the same geographical regions. Radiation-induced thyroid cancers provide a paradigm of tumorigenesis driven by fusion oncogenes that activate MAPK signaling or, less frequently, a PPARγ-driven transcriptional program.
The Journal of clinical investigation 10/2013; · 15.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutation in the IDH1 or IDH2 genes occurs frequently in gliomas and other human malignancies. In intermediate grade gliomas, IDH1 mutation is found in over 70% of tumors. These mutations impart the mutant IDH enzyme with a neomorphic activity - the ability to synthesize 2-hydroxyglutarate (2-HG). This ability leads to a reprogramming of chromatin state, a block in differentiation, and the establishment of the glioma hypermethylator phenotype (G-CIMP). It has been hypothesized but not proven that the extensive DNA methylation that occurs in G-CIMP tumors helps maintain and "lock in" glioma cancer cells in a dedifferentiated state. Here, we tested this hypothesis by treating patient derived IDH1 mutant glioma initiating cells (GIC) with non-cytotoxic, epigenetically targeted doses of the DNMT inhibitor decitabine. Global methylome analysis of treated IDH1 mutant GICs showed that DAC treatment resulted in reversal of DNA methylation marks induced by IDH and the re-expression of genes associated with differentiation. Accordingly, treatment of IDH1 mutant glioma cells resulted in a dramatic loss of stem-like properties and efficient adoption of markers of differentiation, effects not seen in decitabine treated IDH wild-type GICs. Induction of differentiation was much more efficient than that seen following treatment with a specific inhibitor of mutant IDH enzyme (Agios). Decitabine also decreased replicative potential and tumor growth in vivo. Reexpression of polycomb regulated genes accompanied these DAC-induced phenotypes. In total, our data indicates that targeting the pathologic DNA methylation in IDH mutant cells can reverse mutant IDH induced hypermethylation and block in differentiation and promote tumor control. These findings have substantial impact for exploring new treatment strategies for patients with IDH mutant gliomas.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Somatic alterations of the lymphoid transcription factor gene PAX5 (also known as BSAP) are a hallmark of B cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), but inherited mutations of PAX5 have not previously been described. Here we report a new heterozygous germline variant, c.547G>A (p.Gly183Ser), affecting the octapeptide domain of PAX5 that was found to segregate with disease in two unrelated kindreds with autosomal dominant B-ALL. Leukemic cells from all affected individuals in both families exhibited 9p deletion, with loss of heterozygosity and retention of the mutant PAX5 allele at 9p13. Two additional sporadic ALL cases with 9p loss harbored somatic PAX5 substitutions affecting Gly183. Functional and gene expression analysis of the PAX5 mutation demonstrated that it had significantly reduced transcriptional activity. These data extend the role of PAX5 alterations in the pathogenesis of pre-B cell ALL and implicate PAX5 in a new syndrome of susceptibility to pre-B cell neoplasia.