The human genome holds an extraordinary trove of information about human development, physiology, medicine and evolution. Here we report the results of an international collaboration to produce and make freely available a draft sequence of the human genome. We also present an initial analysis of the data, describing some of the insights that can be gleaned from the sequence.
Cancer can take hundreds of different forms depending on the location, cell of origin and spectrum of genomic alterations that promote oncogenesis and affect therapeutic response. Although many genomic events with direct phenotypic impact have been identified, much of the complex molecular landscape remains incompletely charted for most cancer lineages. For that reason, The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network has profiled and analyzed large numbers of human tumours to discover molecular aberrations at the DNA, RNA, protein, and epigenetic levels. The resulting rich data provide a major opportunity to develop an integrated picture of commonalities, differences, and emergent themes across tumour lineages. The Pan-Cancer initiative compares the first twelve tumour types profiled by TCGA. Analysis of the molecular aberrations and their functional roles across tumour types will teach us how to extend therapies effective in one cancer type to others with a similar genomic profile.
Human cancer cells typically harbor multiple chromosomal aberrations, nucleotide substitutions and epigenetic modifications that drive malignant transformation. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) pilot project aims to assess the value of large-scale multidimensional analysis of these molecular characteristics in human cancer and to provide the data rapidly to the research community. Here, we report the interim integrative analysis of DNA copy number, gene expression and DNA methylation aberrations in 206 glioblastomas (GBM), the most common type of adult brain cancer, and nucleotide sequence aberrations in 91 of the 206 GBMs. This analysis provides new insights into the roles of ERBB2, NF1 and TP53, uncovers frequent mutations of the PI3 kinase regulatory subunit gene PIK3R1, and provides a network view of the pathways altered in the development of GBM. Furthermore, integration of mutation, DNA methylation and clinical treatment data reveals a link between MGMT promoter methylation and a hypermutator phenotype consequent to mismatch repair deficiency in treated glioblastomas, an observation with potential clinical implications. Together, these findings establish the feasibility and power of TCGA, demonstrating that it can rapidly expand knowledge of the molecular basis of cancer.
Toward development of a precision medicine framework for metastatic, castration resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), we established a multi-institutional clinical sequencing infrastructure to conduct prospective whole exome and transcriptome sequencing of bone or soft tissue tumor biopsies from a cohort of 150 mCRPC affected individuals. Aberrations of AR, ETS genes, TP53 and PTEN were frequent (40–60% of cases), with TP53 and AR alterations enriched in mCRPC compared to primary prostate cancer. We identified novel genomic alterations in PIK3CA/B, R-spondin, BRAF/RAF1, APC, β-catenin and ZBTB16/PLZF. Aberrations of BRCA2, BRCA1 and ATM were observed at substantially higher frequencies (19.3% overall) than seen in primary prostate cancers. 89% of affected individuals harbored a clinically actionable aberration including 62.7% with aberrations in AR, 65% in other cancer-related genes, and 8% with actionable pathogenic germline alterations. This cohort study provides evidence that clinical sequencing in mCRPC is feasible and could impact treatment decisions in significant numbers of affected individuals.
The Cancer Genome Atlas profiled 279 head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) to provide a comprehensive landscape of somatic genomic alterations. We find that human papillomavirus-associated (HPV) tumors are dominated by helicase domain mutations of the oncogene PIK3CA, novel alterations involving loss of TRAF3, and amplification of the cell cycle gene E2F1. Smoking-related HNSCCs demonstrate near universal loss of TP53 mutations and CDKN2A with frequent copy number alterations including a novel amplification of 11q22. A subgroup of oral cavity tumors with favorable clinical outcomes displayed infrequent CNAs in conjunction with activating mutations of HRAS or PIK3CA, coupled with inactivating mutations of CASP8, NOTCH1 and wild-type TP53. Other distinct subgroups harbored novel loss of function alterations of the chromatin modifier NSD1,
Wnt pathway genes AJUBA and FAT1, and activation of oxidative stress factor NFE2L2, mainly in laryngeal tumors. Therapeutic candidate alterations were identified in the majority of HNSCC's.
Many mutations that contribute to the pathogenesis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are undefined. The relationships between patterns of mutations and epigenetic phenotypes are not yet clear.
We analyzed the genomes of 200 clinically annotated adult cases of de novo AML, using either whole-genome sequencing (50 cases) or whole-exome sequencing (150 cases), along with RNA and microRNA sequencing and DNA-methylation analysis.
AML genomes have fewer mutations than most other adult cancers, with an average of only 13 mutations found in genes. Of these, an average of 5 are in genes that are recurrently mutated in AML. A total of 23 genes were significantly mutated, and another 237 were mutated in two or more samples. Nearly all samples had at least 1 nonsynonymous mutation in one of nine categories of genes that are almost certainly relevant for pathogenesis, including transcription-factor fusions (18% of cases), the gene encoding nucleophosmin (NPM1) (27%), tumor-suppressor genes (16%), DNA-methylation–related genes (44%), signaling genes (59%), chromatin-modifying genes (30%), myeloid transcription-factor genes (22%), cohesin-complex genes (13%), and spliceosome-complex genes (14%). Patterns of cooperation and mutual exclusivity suggested strong biologic relationships among several of the genes and categories.
We identified at least one potential driver mutation in nearly all AML samples and found that a complex interplay of genetic events contributes to AML pathogenesis in individual patients. The databases from this study are widely available to serve as a foundation for further investigations of AML pathogenesis, classification, and risk stratification. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health.)
There is substantial heterogeneity among primary prostate cancers, evident in the spectrum of molecular abnormalities and its variable clinical course. As part of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), we present a comprehensive molecular analysis of 333 primary prostate carcinomas. Our results revealed a molecular taxonomy in which 74% of these tumors fell into one of seven subtypes defined by specific gene fusions (ERG, ETV1/4, FLI1) or mutations (SPOP, FOXA1, IDH1). Epigenetic profiles showed substantial heterogeneity, including an IDH1-mutant subset with a methylator phenotype. Androgen receptor (AR) activity varied widely and in a subtype-specific manner with SPOP and FOXA1 mutant tumors having the highest levels of AR-induced transcripts. 25% of the prostate cancers had a presumed actionable lesion in the PI3K or MAPK signaling pathways, and DNA repair genes were inactivated in 19%. Our analysis reveals molecular heterogeneity among primary prostate cancers, as well as potentially actionable molecular defects.
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