[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Basal-like breast cancer is an aggressive subtype generally characterized as poor prognosis and lacking the expression of the three most important clinical biomarkers, estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2. Cell lines serve as useful model systems to study cancer biology in vitro and in vivo. We performed mutational profiling of six basal-like breast cancer cell lines (HCC38, HCC1143, HCC1187, HCC1395, HCC1954, and HCC1937) and their matched normal lymphocyte DNA using targeted capture and next-generation sequencing of 1,237 cancer-associated genes, including all exons, UTRs and upstream flanking regions. In total, 658 somatic variants were identified, of which 378 were non-silent (average 63 per cell line, range 37-146) and 315 were novel (not present in the Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer database; COSMIC). 125 novel mutations were confirmed by Sanger sequencing (59 exonic, 48 3'UTR and 10 5'UTR, 1 splicing), with a validation rate of 94% of high confidence variants. Of 36 mutations previously reported for these cell lines but not detected in our exome data, 36% could not be detected by Sanger sequencing. The base replacements C/G>A/T, C/G>G/C, C/G>T/A and A/T>G/C were significantly more frequent in the coding regions compared to the non-coding regions (OR 3.2, 95% CI 2.0-5.3, P<0.0001; OR 4.3, 95% CI 2.9-6.6, P<0.0001; OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.8-3.1, P<0.0001; OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.2-2.7, P = 0.024, respectively). The single nucleotide variants within the context of T[C]T/A[G]A and T[C]A/T[G]A were more frequent in the coding than in the non-coding regions (OR 3.7, 95% CI 2.2-6.1, P<0.0001; OR 3.8, 95% CI 2.0-7.2, P = 0.001, respectively). Copy number estimations were derived from the targeted regions and correlated well to Affymetrix SNP array copy number data (Pearson correlation 0.82 to 0.96 for all compared cell lines; P<0.0001). These mutation calls across 1,237 cancer-associated genes and identification of novel variants will aid in the design and interpretation of biological experiments using these six basal-like breast cancer cell lines.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To better understand and characterize chromosomal structural variation during breast cancer progression, we enumerated chromosomal rearrangements for 11 patients by performing low-coverage whole-genome sequencing of 11 primary breast tumors and their 13 matched distant metastases. The tumor genomes harbored a median of 85 (range 18-404) rearrangements per tumor, with a median of 82 (26-310) in primaries compared to 87 (18-404) in distant metastases. Concordance between paired tumors from the same patient was high with a median of 89% of rearrangements shared (range 61-100%), whereas little overlap was found when comparing all possible pairings of tumors from different patients (median 3%). The tumors exhibited diverse genomic patterns of rearrangements: some carried events distributed throughout the genome while others had events mostly within densely clustered chromothripsis-like foci at a few chromosomal locations. Irrespectively, the patterns were highly conserved between the primary tumor and metastases from the same patient. Rearrangements occurred more frequently in genic areas than expected by chance and among the genes affected there was significant enrichment for cancer-associated genes including disruption of TP53, RB1, PTEN, and ESR1, likely contributing to tumor development. Our findings are most consistent with chromosomal rearrangements being early events in breast cancer progression that remain stable during the development from primary tumor to distant metastasis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Melanoma is currently divided on a genetic level according to mutational status. However, this classification does not optimally predict prognosis. In prior studies, we have defined gene expression phenotypes (high-immune, pigmentation, proliferative and normal-like), which are predictive of survival outcome as well as informative of biology. Herein, we employed a population-based metastatic melanoma cohort and external cohorts to determine the prognostic and predictive significance of the gene expression phenotypes. We performed expression profiling on 214 cutaneous melanoma tumors and found an increased risk of developing distant metastases in the pigmentation (HR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.05-3.28; P=0.03) and proliferative (HR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.43-5.57; P=0.003) groups as compared to the high-immune response group. Further genetic characterization of melanomas using targeted deep-sequencing revealed similar mutational patterns across these phenotypes. We also used publicly available expression profiling data from melanoma patients treated with targeted or vaccine therapy in order to determine if our signatures predicted therapeutic response. In patients receiving targeted therapy, melanomas resistant to targeted therapy were enriched in the MITF-low proliferative subtype as compared to pre-treatment biopsies (P=0.02). In summary, the melanoma gene expression phenotypes are highly predictive of survival outcome and can further help to discriminate patients responding to targeted therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Breast cancer type 1 susceptibility protein (BRCA1) has a multitude of functions that contribute to genome integrity and tumor suppression. Its participation in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) during homologous recombination (HR) is well recognized, whereas its involvement in the second major DSB repair pathway, nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ), remains controversial. Here we have studied the role of BRCA1 in the repair of DSBs in switch (S) regions during immunoglobulin class switch recombination, a physiological, deletion/recombination process that relies on the classical NHEJ machinery. A shift to the use of microhomology-based, alternative end-joining (A-EJ) and increased frequencies of intra-S region deletions as well as insertions of inverted S sequences were observed at the recombination junctions amplified from BRCA1-deficient human B cells. Furthermore, increased use of long microhomologies was found at recombination junctions derived from E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase RNF168-deficient, Fanconi anemia group J protein (FACJ, BRIP1)-deficient, or DNA endonuclease RBBP8 (CtIP)-compromised cells, whereas an increased frequency of S-region inversions was observed in breast cancer type 2 susceptibility protein (BRCA2)-deficient cells. Thus, BRCA1, together with its interaction partners, seems to play an important role in repairing DSBs generated during class switch recombination by promoting the classical NHEJ pathway. This may not only provide a general mechanism underlying BRCA1's function in maintaining genome stability and tumor suppression but may also point to a previously unrecognized role of BRCA1 in B-cell lymphomagenesis.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diversity between metastatic melanoma tumors in individual patients is known; however, the molecular and genetic differences remain unclear. To examine the molecular and genetic differences between metastatic tumors, we performed gene-expression profiling of 63 melanoma tumors obtained from 28 patients (2-3 tumors per patient), followed by analysis of their mutational landscape using targeted deep sequencing of 1,697 cancer genes and DNA copy number analysis. Gene-expression signatures revealed discordant phenotypes between tumor lesions within a patient in 50% of the cases. In 18 of 22 patients (where matched normal was available), we found that the multiple lesions within a patient were genetically divergent, with one or more melanoma tumors harboring "private" somatic mutations. In one case, the distant subcutaneous metastasis of one patient occurring three months after an earlier regional lymph node metastasis had acquired 37 new coding sequence mutations, including mutations in PTEN and CDH1. However, BRAF and NRAS mutations, when present in the first metastasis, were always preserved in subsequent metastases. The patterns of nucleotide substitutions found in this study indicate an influence of UV radiation but possibly also DNA alkylating agents. Our results clearly demonstrate that metastatic melanoma is a molecularly highly heterogeneous disease that continues to progress throughout its clinical course. The private aberrations observed on a background of shared aberrations within a patient provide evidence of continued evolution of individual tumors following divergence from a common parental clone and might have implications for personalized medicine strategies in melanoma treatment.
Full-text · Article · May 2014 · The Journal of Pathology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Linkage analysis, positional cloning, candidate gene mutation scanning and genome-wide association study approaches have all contributed significantly to our understanding of the underlying genetic architecture of breast cancer. Taken together, these approaches have identified genetic variation that explains approximately 30% of the overall familial risk of breast cancer, implying that more, and likely rarer, genetic susceptibility alleles remain to be discovered.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Breast Cancer Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: For primary melanomas, tumor thickness, mitotic rate, and ulceration are well-laid cornerstones of prognostication. However, a molecular exposition of melanoma aggressiveness is critically missing. We recently uncovered a four-class structure in metastatic melanoma, which predicts outcome and informs biology. This raises the possibility that a molecular structure exists even in the early stages of melanoma and that molecular determinants could underlie histophenotype and eventual patient outcome.
We subjected 223 archival primary melanomas to a horizontally integrated analysis of RNA expression, oncogenic mutations at 238 lesions, histomorphometry, and survival data.
Our previously described four-class structure that was elucidated in metastatic lesions was evident within the expression space of primary melanomas. Because these subclasses converged into two larger prognostic and phenotypic groups, we used the metastatic lesions to develop a binary subtype-based signature capable of distinguishing between "high" and "low" grade forms of the disease. The two-grade signature was subsequently applied to the primary melanomas. Compared with low-grade tumors, high-grade primary melanomas were significantly associated with increased tumor thickness, mitotic rate, ulceration (all P < 0.01), and poorer relapse-free (HR = 4.94; 95% CI, 2.84-8.59), and overall (HR = 3.66; 95% CI, 2.40-5.58) survival. High-grade melanomas exhibited elevated levels of proliferation and BRCA1/DNA damage signaling genes, whereas low-grade lesions harbored higher expression of immune genes. Importantly, the molecular-grade signature was validated in two external gene expression data sets.
We provide evidence for a molecular organization within melanomas, which is preserved across all stages of disease.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · Clinical Cancer Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) have been associated with increased risk of developing several types of cancer including breast cancer. A set of nine haplotype tagging SNPs (htSNPs) in the IGF1 gene were associated with IGF-1 levels and prostate cancer in a Swedish population. We aimed to study the nine htSNPs in three haplotype blocks (block1: rs855211, rs35765, rs2162679; block2: rs1019731, rs7956547, rs5742632; and block3 rs2033178, rs7136446, rs6220) combined into diplotypes, and three additional SNPs (rs5742612, rs35765817, rs35455143) in relation to IGF-1 levels, BRCA status, the IGF1 CA-repeat microsatellite, and breast cancer in a population of 325 Swedish women from breast cancer high-risk families. Questionnaire data and blood samples for IGF-1 and genetic analyses were obtained twice during the menstrual cycle from 269 women aged 40 years or younger. SNP analyses were also performed in 56 BRCA1/2 mutation carriers. Women (n = 14) with any rare variant block1 diplotype had higher odds to be BRCA1 mutation carriers OR 4.1 (95% CI 1.4-12.2), to lack the common IGF1 19 CA-repeat allele OR 33.3 (95% CI 6.6-166.7), and were more likely to develop early-onset breast cancer (Log Rank P < 0.001) than women with common block1 diplotypes. In the subgroup of BRCA1 mutation carriers, block1 rare diplotypes were associated with earlier diagnosis (Log Rank P = 0.031). No association was found between IGF-1 levels and individual SNPs or diplotypes. If confirmed, these rare diplotypes may identify women with particularly high risk for early-onset breast cancer and this group should be included in forthcoming studies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High testosterone levels have been associated with breast cancer. BRCA1 may function as an androgen receptor (AR) co-regulator. We aimed to examine AR haplotype-tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms (AR htSNPs) and diplotypes in relation to in vivo androgen levels, combined OC use, CAG and GGC genotypes, and BRCA1/2/X family status in 269 young healthy women from breast cancer high-risk families and 56 additional BRCA1/2 mutation carriers. Testosterone, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, and body constitution were measured on cycle days 18-23. Six AR htSNPs and CAG and GGC repeat lengths were genotyped. Most OC users had lower androgen levels than non-users (all Ps<0.0001). Rare variant diplotypes were associated with higher testosterone levels in OC users than in non-users (P(interaction)=0.011). The interaction remained after adjustment for family clustering. Neither individual AR htSNPs nor other diplotypes were significantly associated with androgen levels and did not tag for CAG or GGC genotypes. In the first included woman from each family, the odds of having the most common diplotype was lower in BRCA1 families compared to other families OR 0.41 (95% CI 0.22-0.78). In conclusion, we found few associations between AR htSNPs or diplotypes and androgen levels in women. Diplotypes cannot replace genotyping of microsatellites CAG or GGC. Since testosterone levels are not affected the same way by combined OC use among all women, young women who have higher testosterone levels during combined OC use may belong to the subgroup of women who will not be helped by combined OCs for treatment of androgen-dependent conditions and may be at higher risk for early-onset breast cancer. Whether these women can be identified with AR genotyping needs to be confirmed in an independent cohort.
No preview · Article · Sep 2010 · Molecular Genetics and Metabolism
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reproductive factors, such as early age at menarche, late age at menopause, and nulliparity are known risk factors for breast cancer. Previously, we reported these factors to be associated with risk of developing contralateral breast cancer (CBC). In this study, we evaluated the association between these factors and CBC risk among BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) mutation carriers and non-carriers.
The WECARE Study is a population-based multi-center case-control study of 705 women with CBC (cases) and 1,397 women with unilateral breast cancer (controls). All participants were screened for BRCA1/2 mutations and 181 carriers were identified. Conditional logistic regression models were used to evaluate associations between reproductive factors and CBC for mutation carriers and non-carriers.
None of the associations between reproductive factors and CBC risk differed between mutation carriers and non-carriers. The increase in risk with younger age at menarche and decrease in risk in women with more than two full-term pregnancies seen in non-carriers were not significantly different in carriers (adjusted RRs = 1.31, 95% CI 0.65-2.65 and 0.53, 95% CI 0.19-1.51, respectively). No significant associations between the other reproductive factors and CBC risk were observed in mutation carriers or non-carriers.
For two reproductive factors previously shown to be associated with CBC risk, we observed similar associations for BRCA1/2 carriers. This suggests that reproductive variables that affect CBC risk may have similar effects in mutation carriers and non-carriers.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2010 · Cancer Causes and Control
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BRCA1 and BRCA2 screening in women at high-risk of breast cancer results in the identification of both unambiguously defined deleterious mutations and sequence variants of unknown clinical significance (VUS). We examined a population-based sample of young women with contralateral breast cancer (CBC, n=705) or unilateral breast cancer (UBC, n=1398). We identified 470 unique sequence variants, of which 113 were deleterious mutations. The remaining 357 VUS comprised 185 unique missense changes, 60% were observed only once, while 3% occurred with a frequency of >10%. Deleterious mutations occurred three times more often in women with CBC (15.3%) than in women with UBC (5.2%), whereas combined, VUS were observed in similar frequencies in women with CBC and UBC. A protein alignment algorithm defined 16 rare VUS, occurring at highly conserved residues and/or conferring a considerable biochemical difference, the majority located in the BRCA2 DNA-binding domain. We confirm a multiplicity of BRCA1 and BRCA2 VUS that occur at a wide range of allele frequencies. Although some VUS inflict chemical differences at conserved residues, suggesting a deleterious effect, the majority are not associated with an increased risk of CBC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Given the greatly elevated risks of contralateral breast cancer (CBC) observed in breast cancer patients who carry mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2, it is critical to determine the effectiveness of standard adjuvant therapies in preventing CBC in mutation carriers. The WECARE study is a matched, case-control study of 708 women with CBC as cases and 1,399 women with unilateral breast cancer (UBC) as controls, including 181 BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation carriers. Interviews and medical record reviews provided detailed information on risk factors and breast cancer therapy. All study participants were screened for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations using denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) to detect genetic variants in the coding and flanking regions of the genes. Conditional logistic regression was used to compare the risk of CBC associated with chemotherapy and tamoxifen in BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation carriers and non-carriers. Chemotherapy was associated with lower CBC risk both in non-carriers (RR = 0.6 [95% CI: 0.5-0.7]) and carriers (RR = 0.5 [95% CI: 0.2-1.0]; P value = 0.04). Tamoxifen was associated with a reduced CBC risk in non-carriers (RR = 0.7 [95% CI: 0.6-1.0]; P value = 0.03). We observed a similar but non-significant reduction associated with tamoxifen in mutation carriers (RR = 0.7 [95% CI: 0.3-1.8]). The tests of heterogeneity comparing carriers to non-carriers did not provide evidence for a difference in the associations with chemotherapy (P value = 0.51) nor with tamoxifen (P value = 0.15). Overall, we did not observe a difference in the relative risk reduction associated with adjuvant treatment between BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation carriers and non-carriers. However, given the higher absolute CBC risk in mutation carriers, the potentially greater impact of adjuvant therapy in reducing CBC risk among mutation carriers should be considered when developing treatment plans for these patients.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2010 · Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Disease-predisposing germline mutations in cancer susceptibility genes may consist of large genomic rearrangements that are challenging to detect and characterize using standard PCR-based mutation screening methods. Here, we describe a custom-made zoom-in microarray comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) platform of 60mer oligonucleotides. The 4 x 44 K array format provides high-resolution coverage (200-300 bp) of 400-700 kb genomic regions surrounding six cancer susceptibility genes. We evaluate its performance to accurately detect and precisely map earlier described or novel large germline deletions or duplications occurring in BRCA1 (n=11), BRCA2 (n=2), MSH2 (n=7), or MLH1 (n=9). Additionally, we demonstrate its applicability for uncovering complex somatic rearrangements, exemplified by zoom-in analysis of the PTEN and CDKN2A loci in breast cancer cells. The sizes of rearrangements ranged from several 100 kb, including large flanking regions, to <500-bp deletions, including parts of single exons that would be missed by standard multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) methods. Zoom-in CGH arrays accurately defined the borders of rearrangements, allowing convenient design of primers for sequence determination of the breakpoints. The array platform can be streamlined for a particular application, e.g., focusing on breast cancer susceptibility genes, with increased capacity using multiformat design, and represents a valuable new tool and complement for genetic screening in clinical diagnostics.