Genomic and evolutionary classification of lung cancer in never smokers

Tongwu Zhang, Philippe Joubert, Naser Ansari-Pour, Wei Zhao, Phuc H. Hoang, Rachel Lokanga, Aaron L. Moye, Jennifer Rosenbaum, Abel Gonzalez-Perez, Francisco Martínez-Jiménez, Andrea Castro, Lucia Anna Muscarella, Paul Hofman, Dario Consonni, Angela C. Pesatori, Michael Kebede, Mengying Li, Bonnie E. Gould Rothberg, Iliana Peneva, Matthew B. SchabathMaria Luana Poeta, Manuela Costantini, Daniela Hirsch, Kerstin Heselmeyer-Haddad, Amy Hutchinson, Mary Olanich, Scott M. Lawrence, Petra Lenz, Maire Duggan, Praphulla M.S. Bhawsar, Jian Sang, Jung Kim, Laura Mendoza, Natalie Saini, Leszek J. Klimczak, S. M.Ashiqul Islam, Burcak Otlu, Azhar Khandekar, Nathan Cole, Douglas R. Stewart, Jiyeon Choi, Kevin M. Brown, Neil E. Caporaso, Samuel H. Wilson, Yves Pommier, Qing Lan, Nathaniel Rothman, Jonas S. Almeida, Hannah Carter, Thomas Ried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lung cancer in never smokers (LCINS) is a common cause of cancer mortality but its genomic landscape is poorly characterized. Here high-coverage whole-genome sequencing of 232 LCINS showed 3 subtypes defined by copy number aberrations. The dominant subtype (piano), which is rare in lung cancer in smokers, features somatic UBA1 mutations, germline AR variants and stem cell-like properties, including low mutational burden, high intratumor heterogeneity, long telomeres, frequent KRAS mutations and slow growth, as suggested by the occurrence of cancer drivers’ progenitor cells many years before tumor diagnosis. The other subtypes are characterized by specific amplifications and EGFR mutations (mezzo-forte) and whole-genome doubling (forte). No strong tobacco smoking signatures were detected, even in cases with exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. Genes within the receptor tyrosine kinase–Ras pathway had distinct impacts on survival; five genomic alterations independently doubled mortality. These findings create avenues for personalized treatment in LCINS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1348-1359
Number of pages12
JournalNature Genetics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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