Deep sequencing and pathway-focused analysis revealed multigene oncodriver signatures predicting survival outcomes in advanced colorectal cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Genomic technologies are reshaping the molecular landscape of colorectal cancer (CRC), revealing that oncogenic driver mutations (APC and TP53) coexist with still underappreciated genetic events. We hypothesized that mutational analysis of CRC-linked genes may provide novel information on the connection between genetically-deregulated pathways and clinical outcomes. We performed next-generation sequencing (NGS) analysis of 16 recurrently mutated genes in CRC exploiting tissue specimens from 98 advanced CRC patients. Multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) was used to identify gene sets characterizing negative and positive outliers (patients in the lowest and highest quartile of progression-free survival, PFS). Variables potentially affecting PFS and overall survival (OS) were tested in univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazard models. Sensitivity analyses and resampling were used to assess the robustness of genomic predictors. MCA revealed that APC and TP53 mutations were close to the negative outlier group, whereas mutations in other WNT pathway genes were in proximity of the positive outliers. Reasoning that genetic alterations interact epistatically, producing greater or weaker consequences in combination than when individually considered, we tested whether patients whose tumors carried a genetic background characterized by APC and TP53 mutations without coexisting mutations in other WNT genes (AMER1, FBXW7, TCF7L2, CTNNB1, SOX9) had adverse survival outcomes. With this approach, we identified two oncodriver signatures (ODS1 and ODS2) associated with shorter PFS (ODS1 multivariate Cox for PFS: HR 2.16, 95%CI: 1.28–3.64, p = 0.004; ODS2 multivariate Cox for PFS: HR 2.61, 95%CI: 1.49–4.58, p = 0.001). Clinically-focused and molecularly-focused sensitivity analyses, resampling, and reclassification of mutations confirmed the stability of ODS1/2. Moreover, ODS1/2 negatively impacted OS. Collectively, our results point to co-occurring driver mutations as an adverse molecular factor in advanced CRC. This relationship depends on a broader genetic context highlighting the importance of genetic interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55
JournalOncogenesis
Volume7
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research

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