Cancer genomics

Alver BH*, Kim KH*, Lu P, Wang X, Manchester HE, Wang W, Haswell JR, Park PJ**, Roberts CWM**. The SWI/SNF chromatin remodelling complex is required for maintenance of lineage specific enhancers. Nat Commun 2017;8:14648.Abstract

Genes encoding subunits of SWI/SNF (BAF) chromatin remodelling complexes are collectively altered in over 20% of human malignancies, but the mechanisms by which these complexes alter chromatin to modulate transcription and cell fate are poorly understood. Utilizing mouse embryonic fibroblast and cancer cell line models, here we show via ChIP-seq and biochemical assays that SWI/SNF complexes are preferentially targeted to distal lineage specific enhancers and interact with p300 to modulate histone H3 lysine 27 acetylation. We identify a greater requirement for SWI/SNF at typical enhancers than at most super-enhancers and at enhancers in untranscribed regions than in transcribed regions. Our data further demonstrate that SWI/SNF-dependent distal enhancers are essential for controlling expression of genes linked to developmental processes. Our findings thus establish SWI/SNF complexes as regulators of the enhancer landscape and provide insight into the roles of SWI/SNF in cellular fate control.

Wang X*, Lee RS*, Alver BH*, Haswell JR, Wang S, Mieczkowski J, Drier Y, Gillespie SM, Archer TC, Wu JN, Tzvetkov EP, Troisi EC, Pomeroy SL, Biegel JA, Tolstorukov MY, Bernstein BE**, Park PJ**, Roberts CWM**. SMARCB1-mediated SWI/SNF complex function is essential for enhancer regulation. Nat Genet 2017;49(2):289-295.Abstract

SMARCB1 (also known as SNF5, INI1, and BAF47), a core subunit of the SWI/SNF (BAF) chromatin-remodeling complex, is inactivated in nearly all pediatric rhabdoid tumors. These aggressive cancers are among the most genomically stable, suggesting an epigenetic mechanism by which SMARCB1 loss drives transformation. Here we show that, despite having indistinguishable mutational landscapes, human rhabdoid tumors exhibit distinct enhancer H3K27ac signatures, which identify remnants of differentiation programs. We show that SMARCB1 is required for the integrity of SWI/SNF complexes and that its loss alters enhancer targeting-markedly impairing SWI/SNF binding to typical enhancers, particularly those required for differentiation, while maintaining SWI/SNF binding at super-enhancers. We show that these retained super-enhancers are essential for rhabdoid tumor survival, including some that are shared by all subtypes, such as SPRY1, and other lineage-specific super-enhancers, such as SOX2 in brain-derived rhabdoid tumors. Taken together, our findings identify a new chromatin-based epigenetic mechanism underlying the tumor-suppressive activity of SMARCB1.

Mathur R, Alver BH, San Roman AK, Wilson BG, Wang X, Agoston AT, Park PJ, Shivdasani RA, Roberts CWM. ARID1A loss impairs enhancer-mediated gene regulation and drives colon cancer in mice. Nat Genet 2017;49(2):296-302.Abstract

Genes encoding subunits of SWI/SNF (BAF) chromatin-remodeling complexes are collectively mutated in ∼20% of all human cancers. Although ARID1A is the most frequent target of mutations, the mechanism by which its inactivation promotes tumorigenesis is unclear. Here we demonstrate that Arid1a functions as a tumor suppressor in the mouse colon, but not the small intestine, and that invasive ARID1A-deficient adenocarcinomas resemble human colorectal cancer (CRC). These tumors lack deregulation of APC/β-catenin signaling components, which are crucial gatekeepers in common forms of intestinal cancer. We find that ARID1A normally targets SWI/SNF complexes to enhancers, where they function in coordination with transcription factors to facilitate gene activation. ARID1B preserves SWI/SNF function in ARID1A-deficient cells, but defects in SWI/SNF targeting and control of enhancer activity cause extensive dysregulation of gene expression. These findings represent an advance in colon cancer modeling and implicate enhancer-mediated gene regulation as a principal tumor-suppressor function of ARID1A.

Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network TCGA. Integrated genomic characterization of oesophageal carcinoma. Nature 2017;541(7636):169-175.Abstract

Oesophageal cancers are prominent worldwide; however, there are few targeted therapies and survival rates for these cancers remain dismal. Here we performed a comprehensive molecular analysis of 164 carcinomas of the oesophagus derived from Western and Eastern populations. Beyond known histopathological and epidemiologic distinctions, molecular features differentiated oesophageal squamous cell carcinomas from oesophageal adenocarcinomas. Oesophageal squamous cell carcinomas resembled squamous carcinomas of other organs more than they did oesophageal adenocarcinomas. Our analyses identified three molecular subclasses of oesophageal squamous cell carcinomas, but none showed evidence for an aetiological role of human papillomavirus. Squamous cell carcinomas showed frequent genomic amplifications of CCND1 and SOX2 and/or TP63, whereas ERBB2, VEGFA and GATA4 and GATA6 were more commonly amplified in adenocarcinomas. Oesophageal adenocarcinomas strongly resembled the chromosomally unstable variant of gastric adenocarcinoma, suggesting that these cancers could be considered a single disease entity. However, some molecular features, including DNA hypermethylation, occurred disproportionally in oesophageal adenocarcinomas. These data provide a framework to facilitate more rational categorization of these tumours and a foundation for new therapies.

Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network TCGA. Integrated genomic and molecular characterization of cervical cancer. Nature 2017;543(7645):378-84.Abstract

Cervical cancer remains one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Here we report the extensive molecular characterization of 228 primary cervical cancers, the largest comprehensive genomic study of cervical cancer to date. We observed striking APOBEC mutagenesis patterns and identified SHKBP1, ERBB3, CASP8, HLA-A, and TGFBR2 as novel significantly mutated genes in cervical cancer. We also discovered novel amplifications in immune targets CD274/PD-L1 and PDCD1LG2/PD-L2, and the BCAR4 lncRNA that has been associated with response to lapatinib. HPV integration was observed in all HPV18-related cases and 76% of HPV16-related cases, and was associated with structural aberrations and increased target gene expression. We identified a unique set of endometrial-like cervical cancers, comprised predominantly of HPV-negative tumors with high frequencies of KRAS, ARID1A, and PTEN mutations. Integrative clustering of 178 samples identified Keratin-low Squamous, Keratin-high Squamous, and Adenocarcinoma-rich subgroups. These molecular analyses reveal new potential therapeutic targets for cervical cancers.

Ordulu Z, Nucci MR, Dal Cin P, Hollowell ML, Otis CN, Hornick JL, Park PJ, Kim T-M, Quade BJ, Morton CC. Intravenous leiomyomatosis: an unusual intermediate between benign and malignant uterine smooth muscle tumors. Mod Pathol 2016;Abstract

Intravenous leiomyomatosis is an unusual smooth muscle neoplasm with quasi-malignant intravascular growth but a histologically banal appearance. Herein, we report expression and molecular cytogenetic analyses of a series of 12 intravenous leiomyomatosis cases to better understand the pathogenesis of intravenous leiomyomatosis. All cases were analyzed for the expression of HMGA2, MDM2, and CDK4 proteins by immunohistochemistry based on our previous finding of der(14)t(12;14)(q14.3;q24) in intravenous leiomyomatosis. Seven of 12 (58%) intravenous leiomyomatosis cases expressed HMGA2, and none expressed MDM2 or CDK4. Colocalization of hybridization signals for probes from the HMGA2 locus (12q14.3) and from 14q24 by interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) was detected in a mean of 89.2% of nuclei in HMGA2-positive cases by immunohistochemistry, but in only 12.4% of nuclei in negative cases, indicating an association of HMGA2 expression and this chromosomal rearrangement (P=8.24 × 10(-10)). Four HMGA2-positive cases had greater than two HMGA2 hybridization signals per cell. No cases showed loss of a hybridization signal by interphase FISH for the frequently deleted region of 7q22 in uterine leiomyomata. One intravenous leiomyomatosis case analyzed by array comparative genomic hybridization revealed complex copy number variations. Finally, expression profiling was performed on three intravenous leiomyomatosis cases. Interestingly, hierarchical cluster analysis of the expression profiles revealed segregation of the intravenous leiomyomatosis cases with leiomyosarcoma rather than with myometrium, uterine leiomyoma of the usual histological type, or plexiform leiomyoma. These findings suggest that intravenous leiomyomatosis cases share some molecular cytogenetic characteristics with uterine leiomyoma, and expression profiles similar to that of leiomyosarcoma cases, further supporting their intermediate, quasi-malignant behavior.Modern Pathology advance online publication, 19 February 2016; doi:10.1038/modpathol.2016.36.

Chen F, Zhang Y, Şenbabaoğlu Y, Ciriello G, Yang L, Reznik E, Shuch B, Micevic G, De Velasco G, Shinbrot E, Noble MS, Lu Y, Covington KR, Xi L, Drummond JA, Muzny D, Kang H, Lee J, Tamboli P, Reuter V, Shelley CS, Kaipparettu BA, Bottaro DP, Godwin AK, Gibbs RA, Getz G, Kucherlapati R, Park PJ, Sander C, Henske EP, Zhou JH, Kwiatkowski DJ, Ho TH, Choueiri TK, Hsieh JJ, Akbani R, Mills GB, Hakimi AA, Wheeler DA, Creighton CJ. Multilevel Genomics-Based Taxonomy of Renal Cell Carcinoma. Cell Rep 2016;Abstract

On the basis of multidimensional and comprehensive molecular characterization (including DNA methalylation and copy number, RNA, and protein expression), we classified 894 renal cell carcinomas (RCCs) of various histologic types into nine major genomic subtypes. Site of origin within the nephron was one major determinant in the classification, reflecting differences among clear cell, chromophobe, and papillary RCC. Widespread molecular changes associated with TFE3 gene fusion or chromatin modifier genes were present within a specific subtype and spanned multiple subtypes. Differences in patient survival and in alteration of specific pathways (including hypoxia, metabolism, MAP kinase, NRF2-ARE, Hippo, immune checkpoint, and PI3K/AKT/mTOR) could further distinguish the subtypes. Immune checkpoint markers and molecular signatures of T cell infiltrates were both highest in the subtype associated with aggressive clear cell RCC. Differences between the genomic subtypes suggest that therapeutic strategies could be tailored to each RCC disease subset.

Ceccarelli M, Barthel FP, Malta TM, Sabedot TS, Salama SR, Murray BA, Morozova O, Newton Y, Radenbaugh A, Pagnotta SM, Anjum S, Wang J, Manyam G, Zoppoli P, Ling S, Rao AA, Grifford M, Cherniack AD, Zhang H, Poisson L, Carlotti CG, da Tirapelli DPC, Rao A, Mikkelsen T, Lau CC, Yung AWK, Rabadan R, Huse J, Brat DJ, Lehman NL, Barnholtz-Sloan JS, Zheng S, Hess K, Rao G, Meyerson M, Beroukhim R, Cooper L, Akbani R, Wrensch M, Haussler D, Aldape KD, Laird PW, Gutmann DH, Gutmann DH, Noushmehr H, Iavarone A, Verhaak RGW. Molecular Profiling Reveals Biologically Discrete Subsets and Pathways of Progression in Diffuse Glioma. Cell 2016;164(3):550-63.Abstract

Therapy development for adult diffuse glioma is hindered by incomplete knowledge of somatic glioma driving alterations and suboptimal disease classification. We defined the complete set of genes associated with 1,122 diffuse grade II-III-IV gliomas from The Cancer Genome Atlas and used molecular profiles to improve disease classification, identify molecular correlations, and provide insights into the progression from low- to high-grade disease. Whole-genome sequencing data analysis determined that ATRX but not TERT promoter mutations are associated with increased telomere length. Recent advances in glioma classification based on IDH mutation and 1p/19q co-deletion status were recapitulated through analysis of DNA methylation profiles, which identified clinically relevant molecular subsets. A subtype of IDH mutant glioma was associated with DNA demethylation and poor outcome; a group of IDH-wild-type diffuse glioma showed molecular similarity to pilocytic astrocytoma and relatively favorable survival. Understanding of cohesive disease groups may aid improved clinical outcomes.

Hodge JC, Kim T-M, Dreyfuss JM, Somasundaram P, Christacos NC, Rousselle M, Quade BJ, Park PJ, Stewart EA, Morton CC. Expression profiling of uterine leiomyomata cytogenetic subgroups reveals distinct signatures in matched myometrium: transcriptional profilingof the t(12;14) and evidence in support of predisposing genetic heterogeneity. Hum Mol Genet 2012;21(10):2312-29.Abstract

Uterine leiomyomata (UL), the most common neoplasm in reproductive-age women, are classified into distinct genetic subgroups based on recurrent chromosome abnormalities. To develop a molecular signature of UL with t(12;14)(q14-q15;q23-q24), we took advantage of the multiple UL arising as independent clonal lesions within a single uterus. We compared genome-wide expression levels of t(12;14) UL to non-t(12;14) UL from each of nine women in a paired analysis, with each sample weighted for the percentage of t(12;14) cells to adjust for mosaicism with normal cells. This resulted in a transcriptional profile that confirmed HMGA2, known to be overexpressed in t(12;14) UL, as the most significantly altered gene. Pathway analysis of the differentially expressed genes showed significant association with cell proliferation, particularly G1/S checkpoint regulation. This is consistent with the known larger size of t(12;14) UL relative to karyotypically normal UL or to UL in the deletion 7q22 subgroup. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering demonstrated that patient variability is relatively dominant to the distinction of t(12;14) UL compared with non-t(12;14) UL or of t(12;14) UL compared with del(7q) UL. The paired design we employed is therefore important to produce an accurate t(12;14) UL-specific gene list by removing the confounding effects of genotype and environment. Interestingly, myometrium not only clustered away from the tumors, but generally separated based on associated t(12;14) versus del(7q) status. Nine genes were identified whose expression can distinguish the myometrium origin. This suggests an underlying constitutional genetic predisposition to these somatic changes which could potentially lead to improved personalized management and treatment.

Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network TCGA, Weinstein JN, Collisson EA, Mills GB, Shaw KMR, Ozenberger BA, Ellrott K, Shmulevich I, Sander C, Stuart JM. The Cancer Genome Atlas Pan-Cancer analysis project. Nat Genet 2013;45(10):1113-20.Abstract

The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network has profiled and analyzed large numbers of human tumors 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 tumor lineages. The Pan-Cancer initiative compares the first 12 tumor types profiled by TCGA. Analysis of the molecular aberrations and their functional roles across tumor types will teach us how to extend therapies effective in one cancer type to others with a similar genomic profile.

Goutagny S, Yang HW, Zucman-Rossi J, Chan J, Dreyfuss JM, Park PJ, Black PM, Giovannini M, Carroll RS, Kalamarides M. Genomic profiling reveals alternative genetic pathways of meningioma malignant progression dependent on the underlying NF2 status. Clin Cancer Res 2010;16(16):4155-64.Abstract

PURPOSE: Meningiomas are the most common central nervous system tumors in the population of age 35 and older. WHO defines three grades predictive of the risk of recurrence. Clinical data supporting histologic malignant progression of meningiomas are sparse and underlying molecular mechanisms are not clearly depicted. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We identified genetic alterations associated with histologic progression of 36 paired meningioma samples in 18 patients using 500K SNP genotyping arrays and NF2 gene sequencing. RESULTS: The most frequent chromosome alterations observed in progressing meningioma samples are early alterations (i.e., present both in lower- and higher-grade samples of a single patient). In our series, NF2 gene inactivation was an early and frequent event in progressing meningioma samples (73%). Chromosome alterations acquired during progression from grade I to grade II meningioma were not recurrent. Progression to grade III was characterized by recurrent genomic alterations, the most frequent being CDKN2A/CDKN2B locus loss on 9p. CONCLUSION: Meningiomas displayed different patterns of genetic alterations during progression according to their NF2 status: NF2-mutated meningiomas showed higher chromosome instability during progression than NF2-nonmutated meningiomas, which had very few imbalanced chromosome segments. This pattern of alterations could thus be used as markers in clinical practice to identify tumors prone to progress among grade I meningiomas.

Cancer Genome Atlas Network TCGA. Comprehensive molecular portraits of human breast tumours. Nature 2012;490(7418):61-70.Abstract

We analysed primary breast cancers by genomic DNA copy number arrays, DNA methylation, exome sequencing, messenger RNA 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 produced by stromal/microenvironmental elements, and integrated analyses identified specific signalling pathways dominant in each molecular subtype including a HER2/phosphorylated HER2/EGFR/phosphorylated EGFR signature within the HER2-enriched expression subtype. Comparison of basal-like breast tumours with high-grade serous ovarian tumours showed many molecular commonalities, indicating a related aetiology and similar therapeutic opportunities. The biological 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 biological subtypes of breast cancer.

Cancer Genome Atlas Network TCGA. Comprehensive molecular characterization of human colon and rectal cancer. Nature 2012;487(7407):330-7.Abstract

To characterize somatic alterations in colorectal carcinoma, we conducted a genome-scale analysis of 276 samples, analysing exome sequence, DNA copy number, promoter methylation and messenger RNA and microRNA expression. A subset of these samples (97) underwent low-depth-of-coverage whole-genome sequencing. In total, 16% of colorectal carcinomas were found to be hypermutated: three-quarters of these had the expected high microsatellite instability, usually with hypermethylation and MLH1 silencing, and one-quarter had somatic mismatch-repair gene and polymerase ε (POLE) mutations. Excluding the hypermutated cancers, colon and rectum cancers were found to have considerably similar patterns of genomic alteration. Twenty-four genes were significantly mutated, and in addition to the expected APC, TP53, SMAD4, PIK3CA and KRAS mutations, we found frequent mutations in ARID1A, SOX9 and FAM123B. Recurrent copy-number alterations include potentially drug-targetable amplifications of ERBB2 and newly discovered amplification of IGF2. Recurrent chromosomal translocations include the fusion of NAV2 and WNT pathway member TCF7L1. Integrative analyses suggest new markers for aggressive colorectal carcinoma and an important role for MYC-directed transcriptional activation and repression.

Balakrishnan A, Stearns AT, Park PJ, Dreyfuss JM, Ashley SW, Rhoads DB, Tavakkolizadeh A. Upregulation of proapoptotic microRNA mir-125a after massive small bowel resection in rats. Ann Surg 2012;255(4):747-53.Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Short bowel syndrome remains a condition of high morbidity and mortality, and current therapeutic options carry significant side effects. To identify new treatments we focused on postresection changes in microRNAs--short noncoding RNAs, which suppress target genes--and suggest a previously undiscovered role for microRNA-125a (mir-125a) in intestinal adaptation. METHODS: Rats underwent either 80% massive small bowel resection or transection and were harvested after 48 hours. Jejunum was harvested for microRNA microarrays, laser capture microdissection, and RNA and protein analysis. Mir-125a was overexpressed in intestinal epithelium-6 (crypt-derived) cells (IEC-6) and effects on proliferation and apoptosis determined using MTS and flow cytometry. Expression of potential targets of mir-125a in rat jejunum and IEC-6 cells was determined using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (RNA) and Western blotting (protein). RESULTS: Resection upregulated mir-125a and mir-214 by 2.4-folds and 3.2-folds, respectively. Highest levels of expression were noted in the crypt fraction. Mir-125a overexpression induced apoptosis and resultant growth arrest in IEC-6 cells. The expression of the prosurvival Bcl-2 family member Mcl-1 was downregulated in both mir-125a-overexpressing IEC-6 cells and in jejunum of resected rats, confirming Mcl-1 as a previously undiscovered target of mir-125a. CONCLUSIONS: Upregulation of mir-125a suppresses the prosurvival protein Mcl1, producing the increase in apoptosis known to accompany the proliferative changes characteristic of intestinal adaptation. Our data highlight a potential role for microRNAs as mediators of the adaptive process and may facilitate the development of new therapeutic options for short bowel syndrome.

Jagani Z, Mora-Blanco LE, Sansam CG, McKenna ES, Wilson B, Chen D, Klekota J, Tamayo P, Nguyen PTL, Tolstorukov M, Park PJ, Cho Y-J, Hsiao K, Buonamici S, Pomeroy SL, Mesirov JP, Ruffner H, Bouwmeester T, Luchansky SJ, Murtie J, Kelleher JF, Warmuth M, Sellers WR, Roberts CWM, Dorsch M. Loss of the tumor suppressor Snf5 leads to aberrant activation of the Hedgehog-Gli pathway. Nat Med 2010;16(12):1429-33.Abstract

Aberrant activation of the Hedgehog (Hh) pathway can drive tumorigenesis. To investigate the mechanism by which glioma-associated oncogene family zinc finger-1 (GLI1), a crucial effector of Hh signaling, regulates Hh pathway activation, we searched for GLI1-interacting proteins. We report that the chromatin remodeling protein SNF5 (encoded by SMARCB1, hereafter called SNF5), which is inactivated in human malignant rhabdoid tumors (MRTs), interacts with GLI1. We show that Snf5 localizes to Gli1-regulated promoters and that loss of Snf5 leads to activation of the Hh-Gli pathway. Conversely, re-expression of SNF5 in MRT cells represses GLI1. Consistent with this, we show the presence of a Hh-Gli-activated gene expression profile in primary MRTs and show that GLI1 drives the growth of SNF5-deficient MRT cells in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, our studies reveal that SNF5 is a key mediator of Hh signaling and that aberrant activation of GLI1 is a previously undescribed targetable mechanism contributing to the growth of MRT cells.