Single-cell sequencing deciphers a convergent evolution of copy number alterations from primary to circulating tumor cells.
ABSTRACT: Copy number alteration (CNA) is a major contributor to genome instability, a hallmark of cancer. Here, we studied genomic alterations in single primary tumor cells and circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from the same patient. Single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) in single cells from both samples occurred sporadically, whereas CNAs among primary tumor cells emerged accumulatively rather than abruptly, converging toward the CNA in CTCs. Focal CNAs affecting the MYC gene and the PTEN gene were observed only in a minor portion of primary tumor cells but were present in all CTCs, suggesting a strong selection toward metastasis. Single-cell structural variant (SV) analyses revealed a two-step mechanism, a complex rearrangement followed by gene amplification, for the simultaneous formation of anomalous CNAs in multiple chromosome regions. Integrative CNA analyses of 97 CTCs from 23 patients confirmed the convergence of CNAs and revealed single, concurrent, and mutually exclusive CNAs that could be the driving events in cancer metastasis.
Project description:Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are a rare population of cells representing a key player in the metastatic cascade. They are recognized as a validated tool for the identification of patients with a higher risk of relapse, including those diagnosed with breast cancer (BC). However, CTCs are characterized by high levels of heterogeneity that also involve copy number alterations (CNAs), structural variations associated with gene dosage changes. In this study, single CTCs were isolated from the peripheral blood of 11 early-stage BC patients at different time points. A label-free enrichment of CTCs was performed using OncoQuick, and single CTCs were isolated using DEPArray. Libraries were prepared from single CTCs and DNA extracted from matched tumor tissues for a whole-genome low-coverage next-generation sequencing (NGS) analysis using the Ion Torrent S5 System. The analysis of the CNA burden highlighted that CTCs had different degrees of aberration based on the time point and subtype. CTCs were found even six months after surgery and shared CNAs with matched tumor tissue. Tumor-associated CNAs that were recurrent in CTCs were patient-specific, and some alterations involved regions associated with BC and survival (i.e., gains at 1q21-23 and 5p15.33). The enrichment analysis emphasized the involvement of aberrations of terms, associated in particular with interferon (IFN) signaling. Collectively, our findings reveal that these aberrations may contribute to understanding the molecular mechanisms involving CTC-related processes and their survival ability in occult niches, supporting the goal of exploiting their application in patients' surveillance and follow-up.
Project description:Accurate risk classification of men with localized high-risk prostate cancer directly affects treatment management decisions and patient outcomes. A wide range of risk assessments and classifications are available. However, each one has significant limitations to distinguish between indolent and aggressive prostate cancers. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) may provide an alternate additional source, beyond tissue biopsies, to enable individual patient-specific clinical assessment, simply because CTCs can reveal both tumor-derived and germline-specific genetic information more precisely than that gained from a single diagnostic biopsy. In this study, we combined a filtration-based CTC isolation technology with prostate cancer CTC immunophenotyping to identify prostate cancer CTCs. Next, we performed 3-D telomere profiling prior to laser microdissection and single-cell whole-exome sequencing (WES) of 21 CTCs and 4 lymphocytes derived from 10 localized high-risk prostate cancer patient samples. Localized high-risk prostate cancer patient CTCs present a high number of telomere signals with lower signal intensities (short telomeres). To capture the genetic diversity/heterogeneity of high-risk prostate cancer CTCs, we carried out whole-exome sequencing. We identified 202,241 single nucleotide variants (SNVs) and 137,407 insertion-deletions (indels), where less than 10% of these genetic variations were within coding regions. The genetic variation (SNVs + indels) and copy number alteration (CNAs) profiles were highly heterogeneous and intra-patient CTC variation was observed. The pathway enrichment analysis showed the presence of genetic variation in nine telomere maintenance pathways (patients 3, 5, 6, and 7), including an important gene for telomere maintenance called telomeric repeat-binding factor 2 (TRF2). Using the PharmGKB database, we identified nine genetic variations associated with response to docetaxel. A total of 48 SNVs can affect drug response for 24 known cancer drugs. Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) (patients 1, 3, 6, and 8) identified the presence of CNAs in 11 different pathways, including the DNA damage repair (DDR) pathway. In conclusion, single-cell approaches (WES and 3-D telomere profiling) showed to be useful in unmasking CTC heterogeneity. DDR pathway mutations have been well-established as a target pathway for cancer therapy. However, the frequent CNA amplifications found in localized high-risk patients may play critical roles in the therapeutic resistance in prostate cancer.
Project description:There are currently no biomarkers for early breast cancer patient populations at risk of bone metastasis. Identification of mediators of bone metastasis could be of clinical interest.A de novo unbiased screening approach based on selection of highly bone metastatic breast cancer cells in vivo was used to determine copy number aberrations (CNAs) associated with bone metastasis. The CNAs associated with bone metastasis were examined in independent primary breast cancer datasets with annotated clinical follow-up. The MAF gene encoded within the CNA associated with bone metastasis was subjected to gain and loss of function validation in breast cancer cells (MCF7, T47D, ZR-75, and 4T1), its downstream mechanism validated, and tested in clinical samples. A multivariable Cox cause-specific hazard model with competing events (death) was used to test the association between 16q23 or MAF and bone metastasis. All statistical tests were two-sided.16q23 gain CNA encoding the transcription factor MAF mediates breast cancer bone metastasis through the control of PTHrP. 16q23 gain (hazard ratio (HR) for bone metastasis = 14.5, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 6.4 to 32.9, P < .001) as well as MAF overexpression (HR for bone metastasis = 2.5, 95% CI = 1.7 to 3.8, P < .001) in primary breast tumors were specifically associated with risk of metastasis to bone but not to other organs.These results suggest that MAF is a mediator of breast cancer bone metastasis. 16q23 gain or MAF protein overexpression in tumors may help to select patients at risk of bone relapse.
Project description:Genomic copy number aberrations (CNAs) in gastric cancer have already been extensively characterized by array comparative genomic hybridization (array CGH) analysis. However, involvement of genomic CNAs in the process of submucosal invasion and lymph node metastasis in early gastric cancer is still poorly understood. In this study, to address this issue, we collected a total of 59 tumor samples from 27 patients with submucosal-invasive gastric cancers (SMGC), analyzed their genomic profiles by array CGH, and compared them between paired samples of mucosal (MU) and submucosal (SM) invasion (23 pairs), and SM invasion and lymph node (LN) metastasis (9 pairs). Initially, we hypothesized that acquisition of specific CNA(s) is important for these processes. However, we observed no significant difference in the number of genomic CNAs between paired MU and SM, and between paired SM and LN. Furthermore, we were unable to find any CNAs specifically associated with SM invasion or LN metastasis. Among the 23 cases analyzed, 15 had some similar pattern of genomic profiling between SM and MU. Interestingly, 13 of the 15 cases also showed some differences in genomic profiles. These results suggest that the majority of SMGCs are composed of heterogeneous subpopulations derived from the same clonal origin. Comparison of genomic CNAs between SMGCs with and without LN metastasis revealed that gain of 11q13, 11q14, 11q22, 14q32 and amplification of 17q21 were more frequent in metastatic SMGCs, suggesting that these CNAs are related to LN metastasis of early gastric cancer. In conclusion, our data suggest that generation of genetically distinct subclones, rather than acquisition of specific CNA at MU, is integral to the process of submucosal invasion, and that subclones that acquire gain of 11q13, 11q14, 11q22, 14q32 or amplification of 17q21 are likely to become metastatic.
Project description:Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are shed from solid cancers in the form of single or clustered cells, and the latter display an extraordinary ability to initiate metastasis. Yet, the biological phenomena that trigger the shedding of CTC clusters from a primary cancerous lesion are poorly understood. Here, when dynamically labeling breast cancer cells along cancer progression, we observe that the majority of CTC clusters are undergoing hypoxia, while single CTCs are largely normoxic. Strikingly, we find that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) targeting leads to primary tumor shrinkage, but it increases intra-tumor hypoxia, resulting in a higher CTC cluster shedding rate and metastasis formation. Conversely, pro-angiogenic treatment increases primary tumor size, yet it dramatically suppresses the formation of CTC clusters and metastasis. Thus, intra-tumor hypoxia leads to the formation of clustered CTCs with high metastatic ability, and a pro-angiogenic therapy suppresses metastasis formation through prevention of CTC cluster generation.
Project description:Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are shed into the bloodstream from primary tumors and metastatic lesions and provide significant information about tumor progression and metastasis. CTCs contribute to tumor metastasis through the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). CTC clusters and stem-like phenotypes lead to a more aggressive and metastatic potential. CTCs retain the heterogeneity and imitate the nature of corresponding primary tumors. Therefore, it is important to use single-cell based analysis to obtain information on tumor heterogeneity and biology. CTCs are also good candidates for building preclinical models (especially 3D organoid cultures) for drug screening, disease modeling, genome editing, tumor immunity research, and organ-like biobank establishment. In this article, we summarize the current CTC capture technology, dissect the phenotypes associated with CTC metastasis, and review the progress in single-cell based analysis and preclinical modeling of the pattern and kinetics of CTCs. In particular, we discuss the use of CTCs to assess the progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Project description:Somatic copy number alterations (CNAs) contribute to the clinically targetable aberrations in the tumor genome. For both routine diagnostics and biomarkers research, CNA analysis in a single assay together with somatic mutations is highly desirable.Ioncopy is a validated method and easy-to-use software for CNA calling from targeted NGS data. Copy number and significance of CNA are estimated for each gene in each sample. Copy number gains and losses are called after multiple testing corrections controlling FWER or FDR.Ioncopy facilitates calling of CNAs in a cohort of tumors tissues with or without using normal (germline) DNA controls.
Project description:DNA copy number alterations (CNAs) are frequent in cancer, and recently developed CNA signatures revealed their value in molecular tumor stratification for patient prognosis and platinum resistance prediction in ovarian cancer. Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is also characterized by high CNAs. In this study, we determined CNA in 173 human papilloma virus-negative HNSCC from a Dutch multicenter cohort by low-coverage whole genome sequencing and tested the prognostic value of seven cancer-derived CNA signatures for these cisplatin- and radiotherapy-treated patients. We find that a high CNA signature 1 (s1) score is associated with low values for all other signatures and better patient outcomes in the Dutch cohorts and The Cancer Genome Atlas HNSCC data set. High s5 and s7 scores are associated with increased distant metastasis rates and high s6 scores with poor overall survival. High cumulative cisplatin doses result in improved outcomes in chemoradiotherapy-treated HNSCC patients. Here we find that tumors high in s1 or low in s6 are most responsive to a change in cisplatin dose. High s5 values, however, significantly increase the risk for metastasis in patients with low cumulative cisplatin doses. Together this suggests that the processes causing these CNA signatures affect cisplatin response in HNSCC. In conclusion, CNA signatures derived from a different cancer type were prognostic and associated with cisplatin response in HNSCC, suggesting they represent underlying molecular processes that define patient outcome.
Project description:Multistage tumorigenesis is a dynamic process characterized by the accumulation of mutations. Thus, a tumor mass is composed of genetically divergent cell subclones. With the advancement of next-generation sequencing (NGS), mathematical models have been recently developed to decompose tumor subclonal architecture from a collective genome sequencing data. Most of the methods focused on single-nucleotide variants (SNVs). However, somatic copy number aberrations (CNAs) also play critical roles in carcinogenesis. Therefore, further modeling subclonal CNAs composition would hold the promise to improve the analysis of tumor heterogeneity and cancer evolution. To address this issue, we developed a two-way mixture Poisson model, named CloneDeMix for the deconvolution of read-depth information. It can infer the subclonal copy number, mutational cellular prevalence (MCP), subclone composition, and the order in which mutations occurred in the evolutionary hierarchy. The performance of CloneDeMix was systematically assessed in simulations. As a result, the accuracy of CNA inference was nearly 93% and the MCP was also accurately restored. Furthermore, we also demonstrated its applicability using head and neck cancer samples from TCGA. Our results inform about the extent of subclonal CNA diversity, and a group of candidate genes that probably initiate lymph node metastasis during tumor evolution was also discovered. Most importantly, these driver genes are located at 11q13.3 which is highly susceptible to copy number change in head and neck cancer genomes. This study successfully estimates subclonal CNAs and exhibit the evolutionary relationships of mutation events. By doing so, we can track tumor heterogeneity and identify crucial mutations during evolution process. Hence, it facilitates not only understanding the cancer development but finding potential therapeutic targets. Briefly, this framework has implications for improved modeling of tumor evolution and the importance of inclusion of subclonal CNAs.
Project description:Photoswitchable fluorescent proteins (PSFPs) that change their color in response to light have led to breakthroughs in studying static cells. However, using PSFPs to study cells in dynamic conditions is challenging. Here we introduce a method for in vivo ultrafast photoswitching of PSFPs that provides labeling and tracking of single circulating cells. Using in vivo multicolor flow cytometry, this method demonstrated the capability for studying recirculation, migration, and distribution of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) during metastasis progression. In tumor-bearing mice, it enabled monitoring of real-time dynamics of CTCs released from primary tumor, identifying dormant cells, and imaging of CTCs colonizing a primary tumor (self-seeding) or existing metastasis (reseeding). Integration of genetically encoded PSFPs, fast photoswitching, flow cytometry, and imaging makes in vivo single cell analysis in the circulation feasible to provide insights into the behavior of CTCs and potentially immune-related and bacterial cells in circulation.