Summary Large-scale reference data sets of human genetic variation are critical for the medical and functional interpretation of DNA sequence changes. We describe the aggregation and analysis of high-quality exome (protein-coding region) sequence data for 60,706 individuals of diverse ethnicities generated as part of the Exome Aggregation Consortium (ExAC). This catalogue of human genetic diversity contains an average of one variant every eight bases of the exome, and provides direct evidence for the presence of widespread mutational recurrence. We have used this catalogue to calculate objective metrics of pathogenicity for sequence variants, and to identify genes subject to strong selection against various classes of mutation; identifying 3,230 genes with near-complete depletion of truncating variants with 72% having no currently established human disease phenotype. Finally, we demonstrate that these data can be used for the efficient filtering of candidate disease-causing variants, and for the discovery of human “knockout” variants in protein-coding genes.
SUMMARY The Cancer Genome Atlas Network recently catalogued recurrent genomic abnormalities in glioblastoma (GBM). We describe a robust gene expression-based molecular classification of GBM into Proneural, Neural, Classical and Mesenchymal subtypes and integrate multi-dimensional genomic data to establish patterns of somatic mutations and DNA copy number. Aberrations and gene expression of EGFR, NF1, and PDGFRA/IDH1 each define Classical, Mesenchymal, and Proneural, respectively. Gene signatures of normal brain cell types show a strong relation between subtypes and different neural lineages. Additionally, response to aggressive therapy differs by subtype with greatest benefit in Classical and no benefit in Proneural. We provide a framework that unifies transcriptomic and genomic dimensions for GBM molecular stratification with important implications for future studies.
Summary We analyzed primary breast cancers by genomic DNA copy number arrays, DNA methylation, exome sequencing, mRNA arrays, microRNA sequencing and reverse phase protein arrays. Our ability to integrate information across platforms provided key insights into previously-defined gene expression subtypes and demonstrated the existence of four main breast cancer classes when combining data from five platforms, each of which shows significant molecular heterogeneity. Somatic mutations in only three genes (TP53, PIK3CA and GATA3) occurred at > 10% incidence across all breast cancers; however, there were numerous subtype-associated and novel gene mutations including the enrichment of specific mutations in GATA3, PIK3CA and MAP3K1 with the Luminal A subtype. We identified two novel protein expression-defined subgroups, possibly contributed by stromal/microenvironmental elements, and integrated analyses identified specific signaling pathways dominant in each molecular subtype including a HER2/p-HER2/HER1/p-HER1 signature within the HER2-Enriched expression subtype. Comparison of Basal-like breast tumors with high-grade Serous Ovarian tumors showed many molecular commonalities, suggesting a related etiology and similar therapeutic opportunities. The biologic finding of the four main breast cancer subtypes caused by different subsets of genetic and epigenetic abnormalities raises the hypothesis that much of the clinically observable plasticity and heterogeneity occurs within, and not across, these major biologic subtypes of breast cancer.
Recent work has revealed the existence of a class of small non-coding RNA species, known as microRNAs (miRNAs), which have critical functions across various biological processes. Here we use a new, bead-based flow cytometric miRNA expression profiling method to present a systematic expression analysis of 217 mammalian miRNAs from 334 samples, including multiple human cancers. The miRNA profiles are surprisingly informative, reflecting the developmental lineage and differentiation state of the tumours. We observe a general downregulation of miRNAs in tumours compared with normal tissues. Furthermore, we were able to successfully classify poorly differentiated tumours using miRNA expression profiles, whereas messenger RNA profiles were highly inaccurate when applied to the same samples. These findings highlight the potential of miRNA profiling in cancer diagnosis.
The systematic translation of cancer genomic data into knowledge of tumor biology and therapeutic avenues remains challenging. Such efforts should be greatly aided by robust preclinical model systems that reflect the genomic diversity of human cancers and for which detailed genetic and pharmacologic annotation is available1. Here we describe the Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia (CCLE): a compilation of gene expression, chromosomal copy number, and massively parallel sequencing data from 947 human cancer cell lines. When coupled with pharmacologic profiles for 24 anticancer drugs across 479 of the lines, this collection allowed identification of genetic, lineage, and gene expression-based predictors of drug sensitivity. In addition to known predictors, we found that plasma cell lineage correlated with sensitivity to IGF1 receptor inhibitors; AHR expression was associated with MEK inhibitor efficacy in NRAS-mutant lines; and SLFN11 expression predicted sensitivity to topoisomerase inhibitors. Altogether, our results suggest that large, annotated cell line collections may help to enable preclinical stratification schemata for anticancer agents. The generation of genetic predictions of drug response in the preclinical setting and their incorporation into cancer clinical trial design could speed the emergence of “personalized” therapeutic regimens2.
Summary The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project has analyzed mRNA expression, miRNA expression, promoter methylation, and DNA copy number in 489 high-grade serous ovarian adenocarcinomas (HGS-OvCa) and the DNA sequences of exons from coding genes in 316 of these tumors. These results show that HGS-OvCa is characterized by TP53 mutations in almost all tumors (96%); low prevalence but statistically recurrent somatic mutations in 9 additional genes including NF1, BRCA1, BRCA2, RB1, and CDK12; 113 significant focal DNA copy number aberrations; and promoter methylation events involving 168 genes. Analyses delineated four ovarian cancer transcriptional subtypes, three miRNA subtypes, four promoter methylation subtypes, a transcriptional signature associated with survival duration and shed new light on the impact on survival of tumors with BRCA1/2 and CCNE1 aberrations. Pathway analyses suggested that homologous recombination is defective in about half of tumors, and that Notch and FOXM1 signaling are involved in serous ovarian cancer pathophysiology.
Infiltrating stromal and immune cells form the major fraction of normal cells in tumour tissue and not only perturb the tumour signal in molecular studies but also have an important role in cancer biology. Here we describe ‘Estimation of STromal and Immune cells in MAlignant Tumours using Expression data’ (ESTIMATE)—a method that uses gene expression signatures to infer the fraction of stromal and immune cells in tumour samples. ESTIMATE scores correlate with DNA copy number-based tumour purity across samples from 11 different tumour types, profiled on Agilent, Affymetrix platforms or based on RNA sequencing and available through The Cancer Genome Atlas. The prediction accuracy is further corroborated using 3,809 transcriptional profiles available elsewhere in the public domain. The ESTIMATE method allows consideration of tumour-associated normal cells in genomic and transcriptomic studies. An R-library is available on https://sourceforge.net/projects/estimateproject/.
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