Publications by authors named "Felicity Newell"

48 Publications

Evaluation of Crizotinib Treatment in a Patient With Unresectable GOPC-ROS1 Fusion Agminated Spitz Nevi.

JAMA Dermatol 2021 Jul;157(7):836-841

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia.

Importance: Spitz nevi are benign melanocytic neoplasms that classically present in childhood. Isolated Spitz nevi have been associated with oncogenic gene fusions in approximately 50% of cases. The rare agminated variant of Spitz nevi, thought to arise from cutaneous genetic mosaicism, is characterized by development of clusters of multiple lesions in a segmental distribution, which can complicate surgical removal. Somatic single-nucleotide variants in the HRAS oncogene have been described in agminated Spitz nevi, most of which were associated with an underlying nevus spilus. The use of targeted medical therapy for agminated Spitz nevi is not well understood.

Observations: A girl aged 30 months presented with facial agminated Spitz nevi that recurred rapidly and extensively after surgery. Owing to the morbidity of further surgery, referral was made to a molecular tumor board. The patient's archival nevus tissue was submitted for extended immunohistochemical analysis and genetic sequencing. Strong ROS1 protein expression was identified by immunohistochemistry. Consistent with this, analysis of whole-genome sequencing data revealed GOPC-ROS1 fusions. These results indicated likely benefit from the oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor crizotinib, which was administered at a dosage of 280 mg/m2 twice daily. An excellent response was observed in all lesions within 5 weeks, with complete flattening after 20 weeks.

Conclusions And Relevance: Given the response following crizotinib treatment observed in this case, the kinase fusion was believed to be functionally consequential in the patient's agminated Spitz nevi and likely the driver mutational event for growth of her nevi. The repurposing of crizotinib for GOPC-ROS1 Spitz nevi defines a new treatment option for these lesions, particularly in cases for which surgery is relatively contraindicated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamadermatol.2021.0025DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8173474PMC
July 2021

Tumor Signature Analysis Implicates Hereditary Cancer Genes in Endometrial Cancer Development.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 04 7;13(8). Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Department of Genetics and Computational Biology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane 4006, Australia.

Risk of endometrial cancer (EC) is increased ~2-fold for women with a family history of cancer, partly due to inherited pathogenic variants in mismatch repair (MMR) genes. We explored the role of additional genes as explanation for familial EC presentation by investigating germline and EC tumor sequence data from The Cancer Genome Atlas ( = 539; 308 European ancestry), and germline data from 33 suspected familial European ancestry EC patients demonstrating immunohistochemistry-detected tumor MMR proficiency. Germline variants in MMR and 26 other known/candidate EC risk genes were annotated for pathogenicity in the two EC datasets, and also for European ancestry individuals from gnomAD as a population reference set ( = 59,095). Ancestry-matched case-control comparisons of germline variant frequency and/or sequence data from suspected familial EC cases highlighted , , , and as candidates for large-scale risk association studies. Tumor mutational signature analysis identified a microsatellite-high signature for all cases with a germline pathogenic MMR gene variant. Signature analysis also indicated that germline loss-of-function variants in homologous recombination (, , ) or base excision (, ) repair genes can contribute to EC development in some individuals with germline variants in these genes. These findings have implications for expanded therapeutic options for EC cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13081762DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8067736PMC
April 2021

Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review of the Genomics of Mucosal Melanoma.

Mol Cancer Res 2021 06 11;19(6):991-1004. Epub 2021 Mar 11.

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Mucosal melanoma is a rare subtype of melanoma. To date, there has been no comprehensive systematic collation and statistical analysis of the aberrations and aggregated frequency of driver events across multiple studies. Published studies using whole genome, whole exome, targeted gene panel, or individual gene sequencing were identified. Datasets from these studies were collated to summarize mutations, structural variants, and regions of copy-number alteration. Studies using next-generation sequencing were divided into the "main" cohort ( = 173; fresh-frozen samples), "validation" cohort ( = 48; formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded samples) and a second "validation" cohort comprised 104 tumors sequenced using a targeted panel. Studies assessing mutations in , and were summarized to assess hotspot mutations. Statistical analysis of the main cohort variant data revealed , and as significantly mutated genes. and mutations occurred more commonly in lower anatomy melanomas and in the upper anatomy. , and were commonly affected by chromosomal copy loss, while , and were commonly amplified. Further notable genomic alterations occurring at lower frequencies indicated commonality of signaling networks in tumorigenesis, including MAPK, PI3K, Notch, Wnt/β-catenin, cell cycle, DNA repair, and telomere maintenance pathways. This analysis identified genomic aberrations that provide some insight to the way in which specific pathways may be disrupted. IMPLICATIONS: Our analysis has shown that mucosal melanomas have a diverse range of genomic alterations in several biological pathways. VISUAL OVERVIEW: http://mcr.aacrjournals.org/content/molcanres/19/6/991/F1.large.jpg.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-20-0839DOI Listing
June 2021

Tumour gene expression signature in primary melanoma predicts long-term outcomes.

Nat Commun 2021 02 18;12(1):1137. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Cambridge Cancer Centre, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK.

Adjuvant systemic therapies are now routinely used following resection of stage III melanoma, however accurate prognostic information is needed to better stratify patients. We use differential expression analyses of primary tumours from 204 RNA-sequenced melanomas within a large adjuvant trial, identifying a 121 metastasis-associated gene signature. This signature strongly associated with progression-free (HR = 1.63, p = 5.24 × 10) and overall survival (HR = 1.61, p = 1.67 × 10), was validated in 175 regional lymph nodes metastasis as well as two externally ascertained datasets. The machine learning classification models trained using the signature genes performed significantly better in predicting metastases than models trained with clinical covariates (p = 7.03 × 10), or published prognostic signatures (p < 0.05). The signature score negatively correlated with measures of immune cell infiltration (ρ = -0.75, p < 2.2 × 10), with a higher score representing reduced lymphocyte infiltration and a higher 5-year risk of death in stage II melanoma. Our expression signature identifies melanoma patients at higher risk of metastases and warrants further evaluation in adjuvant clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21207-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7893180PMC
February 2021

Considerations for using population frequency data in germline variant interpretation: Cancer syndrome genes as a model.

Hum Mutat 2021 May 1;42(5):530-536. Epub 2021 Mar 1.

Genetics & Computational Biology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Herston, Queensland, Australia.

Aggregate population genomics data from large cohorts are vital for assessing germline variant pathogenicity. However, there are no specifications on how sequencing quality metrics should be considered, and whether exome-derived and genome-derived allele frequencies should be considered in isolation. Germline genome sequence data were simulated for nine read-depths to identify a minimum acceptable read-depth for detecting variants. gnomAD exome-derived and genome-derived datasets were assessed for read-depth, for six key cancer genes selected for variant curation by ClinGen expert panels. Non-Finnish European allele frequency (AF) or filter AF of coding variants in these genes, assigned into frequency bins using modified ACMG-AMP criteria, was compared between exome-derived and genome-derived datasets. A 30X read-depth achieved acceptable precision and recall for detection of substitutions, but poor recall for small insertions/deletions. Exome-derived and genome-derived datasets exhibited low read-depth for different gene exons. Individual variants were mostly assigned to non-divergent AF bins (>95%) or filter AF bins (>97%). Two major bin divergences were resolved by applying the minimal acceptable read-depth threshold. These findings show the importance of assessing read-depth separately for population datasets sourced from different short-read sequencing technologies before assigning a frequency-based ACMG-AMP classification code for variant interpretation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.24183DOI Listing
May 2021

DNA methylation patterns identify subgroups of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors with clinical association.

Commun Biol 2021 02 3;4(1):155. Epub 2021 Feb 3.

University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, 2006, Australia.

Here we report the DNA methylation profile of 84 sporadic pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PanNETs) with associated clinical and genomic information. We identified three subgroups of PanNETs, termed T1, T2 and T3, with distinct patterns of methylation. The T1 subgroup was enriched for functional tumors and ATRX, DAXX and MEN1 wild-type genotypes. The T2 subgroup contained tumors with mutations in ATRX, DAXX and MEN1 and recurrent patterns of chromosomal losses in half of the genome with no association between regions with recurrent loss and methylation levels. T2 tumors were larger and had lower methylation in the MGMT gene body, which showed positive correlation with gene expression. The T3 subgroup harboured mutations in MEN1 with recurrent loss of chromosome 11, was enriched for grade G1 tumors and showed histological parameters associated with better prognosis. Our results suggest a role for methylation in both driving tumorigenesis and potentially stratifying prognosis in PanNETs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s42003-020-01469-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7859232PMC
February 2021

Whole-genome sequencing of acral melanoma reveals genomic complexity and diversity.

Nat Commun 2020 10 16;11(1):5259. Epub 2020 Oct 16.

Center for Rare Melanomas, University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, Colorado, USA.

To increase understanding of the genomic landscape of acral melanoma, a rare form of melanoma occurring on palms, soles or nail beds, whole genome sequencing of 87 tumors with matching transcriptome sequencing for 63 tumors was performed. Here we report that mutational signature analysis reveals a subset of tumors, mostly subungual, with an ultraviolet radiation signature. Significantly mutated genes are BRAF, NRAS, NF1, NOTCH2, PTEN and TYRP1. Mutations and amplification of KIT are also common. Structural rearrangement and copy number signatures show that whole genome duplication, aneuploidy and complex rearrangements are common. Complex rearrangements occur recurrently and are associated with amplification of TERT, CDK4, MDM2, CCND1, PAK1 and GAB2, indicating potential therapeutic options.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18988-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7567804PMC
October 2020

Adaptations to light predict the foraging niche and disassembly of avian communities in tropical countrysides.

Ecology 2021 01 3;102(1):e03213. Epub 2020 Nov 3.

Florida Museum of Natural History and Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 32611, USA.

The role of light in partitioning ecological niche space remains a frontier in understanding the assembly of terrestrial vertebrate communities and their response to global change. Leveraging recent advances in biologging technology and intensive field surveys of cloud forest bird communities across an agricultural land use gradient in the Peruvian Andes, we demonstrate that eye size predicts (1) the ambient light microenvironment used by free-ranging birds, (2) their foraging niche, and (3) species-specific sensitivity to agricultural land use change. For 15 species carrying light sensors (N = 71 individuals), light intensity levels were best explained by eye size and foraging behavior, with larger-eyed species using darker microenvironments. Across the cloud forest bird community (N = 240 species), hyperopic ("far-sighted") foragers, (e.g., flycatchers), had larger eyes compared to myopic ("near-sighted") species (e.g., gleaners and frugivores); eye size was also larger for myopic insectivores that foraged in the forest understory. Eye size strongly predicted sensitivity to brightly lit habitats across an agricultural land use gradient. Species that increased in abundance in mixed intensity agriculture, including fencerows, silvopasture, and pasture, had smaller eyes, suggesting that light acts as an environmental filter when communities disassemble in a human-disturbed landscape. We suggest that eye size represents a novel functional trait contributing to terrestrial vertebrate community assembly and sensitivity to habitat disturbance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ecy.3213DOI Listing
January 2021

Tumor Mutation Burden and Structural Chromosomal Aberrations Are Not Associated with T-cell Density or Patient Survival in Acral, Mucosal, and Cutaneous Melanomas.

Cancer Immunol Res 2020 11 11;8(11):1346-1353. Epub 2020 Sep 11.

Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Tumor mutation burden (TMB) has been proposed as a key determinant of immunogenicity in several cancers, including melanoma. The evidence presented thus far, however, is often contradictory and based mostly on RNA-sequencing data for the quantification of immune cell phenotypes. Few studies have investigated TMB across acral, mucosal, and cutaneous melanoma subtypes, which are known to have different TMB. It is also unknown whether chromosomal structural mutations [structural variant (SV) mutations] contribute to the immunogenicity in acral and mucosal melanomas where such aberrations are common. We stained 151 cutaneous and 35 acral and mucosal melanoma patient samples using quantitative IHC and correlated immune infiltrate phenotypes with TMB and other genomic profiles. TMB and SVs did not correlate with the densities of CD8 lymphocytes, CD103 tumor-resident T cells (Trm), CD45RO cells, and other innate and adaptive immune cell subsets in cutaneous and acral/mucosal melanoma tumors, respectively, including in analyses restricted to the site of disease and in a validation cohort. In 43 patients with stage III treatment-naïve cutaneous melanoma, we found that the density of immune cells, particularly Trm, was significantly associated with patient survival, but not with TMB. Overall, TMB and chromosomal structural aberrations are not associated with protective antitumor immunity in treatment-naïve melanoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-19-0835DOI Listing
November 2020

Using whole-genome sequencing data to derive the homologous recombination deficiency scores.

NPJ Breast Cancer 2020 7;6:33. Epub 2020 Aug 7.

Centre for Clinical Research, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD Australia.

The homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) score was developed using whole-genome copy number data derived from arrays as a way to infer deficiency in the homologous recombination DNA damage repair pathway (in particular or deficiency) in breast cancer samples. The score has utility in understanding tumour biology and may be indicative of response to certain therapeutic strategies. Studies have used whole-exome sequencing to derive the HRD score, however, with increasing use of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to characterise tumour genomes, there has yet to be a comprehensive comparison between HRD scores derived by array versus WGS. Here we demonstrate that there is both a high correlation and a good agreement between array- and WGS-derived HRD scores and between the scores derived from WGS and downsampled WGS to represent shallow WGS. For samples with an HRD score close to threshold for stratifying HR proficiency or deficiency there was however some disagreement in the HR status between array and WGS data, highlighting the importance of not relying on a single method of ascertaining the homologous recombination status of a tumour.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41523-020-0172-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7414867PMC
August 2020

Whole genome landscapes of uveal melanoma show an ultraviolet radiation signature in iris tumours.

Nat Commun 2020 05 15;11(1):2408. Epub 2020 May 15.

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.

Uveal melanoma (UM) is the most common intraocular tumour in adults and despite surgical or radiation treatment of primary tumours, ~50% of patients progress to metastatic disease. Therapeutic options for metastatic UM are limited, with clinical trials having little impact. Here we perform whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of 103 UM from all sites of the uveal tract (choroid, ciliary body, iris). While most UM have low tumour mutation burden (TMB), two subsets with high TMB are seen; one driven by germline MBD4 mutation, and another by ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure, which is restricted to iris UM. All but one tumour have a known UM driver gene mutation (GNAQ, GNA11, BAP1, PLCB4, CYSLTR2, SF3B1, EIF1AX). We identify three other significantly mutated genes (TP53, RPL5 and CENPE).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16276-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7229209PMC
May 2020

Whole-genome landscape of mucosal melanoma reveals diverse drivers and therapeutic targets.

Nat Commun 2019 07 18;10(1):3163. Epub 2019 Jul 18.

Department of Pathology, University of California, San Francisco, CA, 94143, USA.

Knowledge of key drivers and therapeutic targets in mucosal melanoma is limited due to the paucity of comprehensive mutation data on this rare tumor type. To better understand the genomic landscape of mucosal melanoma, here we describe whole genome sequencing analysis of 67 tumors and validation of driver gene mutations by exome sequencing of 45 tumors. Tumors have a low point mutation burden and high numbers of structural variants, including recurrent structural rearrangements targeting TERT, CDK4 and MDM2. Significantly mutated genes are NRAS, BRAF, NF1, KIT, SF3B1, TP53, SPRED1, ATRX, HLA-A and CHD8. SF3B1 mutations occur more commonly in female genital and anorectal melanomas and CTNNB1 mutations implicate a role for WNT signaling defects in the genesis of some mucosal melanomas. TERT aberrations and ATRX mutations are associated with alterations in telomere length. Mutation profiles of the majority of mucosal melanomas suggest potential susceptibility to CDK4/6 and/or MEK inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-11107-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6639323PMC
July 2019

Molecular Genomic Profiling of Melanocytic Nevi.

J Invest Dermatol 2019 08 14;139(8):1762-1768. Epub 2019 Feb 14.

Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

The benign melanocytic nevus is the most common tumor in humans and rarely transforms into cutaneous melanoma. Elucidation of the nevus genome is required to better understand the molecular steps of progression to melanoma. We performed whole genome sequencing on a series of 14 benign melanocytic nevi consisting of both congenital and acquired types. All nevi had driver mutations in the MAPK signaling pathway, either BRAF V600E or NRAS Q61R/L. No additional definite driver mutations were identified. Somatic mutations in nevi with higher mutation loads showed a predominance of mutational signatures 7a and 7b, consistent with UVR exposure, whereas nevi with lower mutation loads (including all three congenital nevi) had a predominance of the ubiquitous signatures 1 and 5. Two nevi had mutations in promoter regions predicted to bind E26 transformation-specific family transcription factors, as well as subclonal mutations in the TERT promoter. This paper presents whole genome data from melanocytic nevi. We confirm that UVR is involved in the etiology of a subset of nevi. This study also establishes that TERT promoter mutations are present in morphologically benign skin nevi in subclonal populations, which has implications regarding the interpretation of this emerging biomarker in sensitive assays.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jid.2018.12.033DOI Listing
August 2019

Complex structural rearrangements are present in high-grade dysplastic Barrett's oesophagus samples.

BMC Med Genomics 2019 02 4;12(1):31. Epub 2019 Feb 4.

Surgical Oncology Group, Diamantina Institute, The University of Queensland, Translational Research Institute, Woolloongabba, Brisbane, QLD, 4102, Australia.

Background: Oesophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) incidence is increasing and has a poor survival rate. Barrett's oesophagus (BE) is a precursor condition that is associated with EAC and often occurs in conjunction with chronic gastro-oesophageal reflux, however many individuals diagnosed with BE never progress to cancer. An understanding of the genomic features of BE and EAC may help with the early identification of at-risk individuals.

Methods: In this study, we assessed the genomic features of 16 BE samples using whole-genome sequencing. These included non-dysplastic samples collected at two time-points from two BE patients who had not progressed to EAC over several years. Seven other non-dysplastic samples and five dysplastic BE samples with high-grade dysplasia were also examined. We compared the genome profiles of these 16 BE samples with 22 EAC samples.

Results: We observed that samples from the two non-progressor individuals had low numbers of somatic single nucleotide variants, indels and structural variation events compared to dysplastic and the remaining non-dysplastic BE. EAC had the highest level of somatic genomic variations. Mutational signature 17, which is common in EAC, was also present in non-dysplastic and dysplastic BE, but was not present in the non-progressors. Many dysplastic samples had mutations in genes previously reported in EAC, whereas only mutations in CDKN2A or in the fragile site genes appeared common in non-dysplastic samples. Rearrangement signatures were used to identify a signature associated with localised complex events such as chromothripsis and breakage fusion-bridge that are characteristic of EACs. Two dysplastic BE samples had a high contribution of this signature and contained evidence of localised rearrangements. Two other dysplastic samples also had regions of localised structural rearrangements. There was no evidence for complex events in non-dysplastic samples.

Conclusions: The presence of complex localised rearrangements in dysplastic samples indicates a need for further investigations into the role such events play in the progression from BE to EAC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12920-019-0476-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6360790PMC
February 2019

Whole genome sequencing of melanomas in adolescent and young adults reveals distinct mutation landscapes and the potential role of germline variants in disease susceptibility.

Int J Cancer 2019 03 21;144(5):1049-1060. Epub 2018 Nov 21.

Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.

Cutaneous melanoma accounts for at least >10% of all cancers in adolescents and young adults (AYA, 15-30 years of age) in Western countries. To date, little is known about the correlations between germline variants and somatic mutations and mutation signatures in AYA melanoma patients that might explain why they have developed a cancer predominantly affecting those over 65 years of age. We performed genomic analysis of 50 AYA melanoma patients (onset 10-30 years, median 20); 25 underwent whole genome sequencing (WGS) of both tumor and germline DNA, exome data were retrieved from 12 TCGA AYA cases, and targeted DNA sequencing was conducted on 13 cases. The AYA cases were compared with WGS data from 121 adult cutaneous melanomas. Similar to mature adult cutaneous melanomas, AYA melanomas showed a high mutation burden and mutation signatures of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) damage. The frequencies of somatic mutations in BRAF (96%) and PTEN (36%) in the AYA WGS cohort were double the rates observed in adult melanomas (Q < 6.0 × 10 and 0.028, respectively). Furthermore, AYA melanomas contained a higher proportion of non-UVR-related mutation signatures than mature adult melanomas as a proportion of total mutation burden (p = 2.0 × 10 ). Interestingly, these non-UVR mutation signatures relate to APOBEC or mismatch repair pathways, and germline variants in related genes were observed in some of these cases. We conclude that AYA melanomas harbor some of the same molecular aberrations and mutagenic insults occurring in older adults, but in different proportions. Germline variants that may have conferred disease susceptibility correlated with somatic mutation signatures in a subset of AYA melanomas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.31791DOI Listing
March 2019

HLA and KIR Associations of Cervical Neoplasia.

J Infect Dis 2018 11;218(12):2006-2015

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda.

Background: Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women, and we recently reported human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles showing strong associations with cervical neoplasia risk and protection. HLA ligands are recognized by killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) expressed on a range of immune cell subsets, governing their proinflammatory activity. We hypothesized that the inheritance of particular HLA-KIR combinations would increase cervical neoplasia risk.

Methods: Here, we used HLA and KIR dosages imputed from single-nucleotide polymorphism genotype data from 2143 cervical neoplasia cases and 13858 healthy controls of European decent.

Results: The following 4 novel HLA alleles were identified in association with cervical neoplasia, owing to their linkage disequilibrium with known cervical neoplasia-associated HLA-DRB1 alleles: HLA-DRB3*9901 (odds ratio [OR], 1.24; P = 2.49 × 10-9), HLA-DRB5*0101 (OR, 1.29; P = 2.26 × 10-8), HLA-DRB5*9901 (OR, 0.77; P = 1.90 × 10-9), and HLA-DRB3*0301 (OR, 0.63; P = 4.06 × 10-5). We also found that homozygosity of HLA-C1 group alleles is a protective factor for human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16)-related cervical neoplasia (C1/C1; OR, 0.79; P = .005). This protective association was restricted to carriers of either KIR2DL2 (OR, 0.67; P = .00045) or KIR2DS2 (OR, 0.69; P = .0006).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that HLA-C1 group alleles play a role in protecting against HPV16-related cervical neoplasia, mainly through a KIR-mediated mechanism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiy483DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6217726PMC
November 2018

Genome-wide association study of extreme high bone mass: Contribution of common genetic variation to extreme BMD phenotypes and potential novel BMD-associated genes.

Bone 2018 09 5;114:62-71. Epub 2018 Jun 5.

Translational Genomics Group, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology at Translational Research Institute, 37 Kent Street, Woolloongabba 4102, QLD, Australia; Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Background: Generalised high bone mass (HBM), associated with features of a mild skeletal dysplasia, has a prevalence of 0.18% in a UK DXA-scanned adult population. We hypothesized that the genetic component of extreme HBM includes contributions from common variants of small effect and rarer variants of large effect, both enriched in an extreme phenotype cohort.

Methods: We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of adults with either extreme high or low BMD. Adults included individuals with unexplained extreme HBM (n = 240) from the UK with BMD Z-scores ≥+3.2, high BMD females from the Anglo-Australasian Osteoporosis Genetics Consortium (AOGC) (n = 1055) with Z-scores +1.5 to +4.0 and low BMD females also part of AOGC (n = 900), with Z-scores -1.5 to -4.0. Following imputation, we tested association between 6,379,332 SNPs and total hip and lumbar spine BMD Z-scores. For potential target genes, we assessed expression in human osteoblasts and murine osteocytes.

Results: We observed significant enrichment for associations with established BMD-associated loci, particularly those known to regulate endochondral ossification and Wnt signalling, suggesting that part of the genetic contribution to unexplained HBM is polygenic. Further, we identified associations exceeding genome-wide significance between BMD and four loci: two established BMD-associated loci (5q14.3 containing MEF2C and 1p36.12 containing WNT4) and two novel loci: 5p13.3 containing NPR3 (rs9292469; minor allele frequency [MAF] = 0.33%) associated with lumbar spine BMD and 11p15.2 containing SPON1 (rs2697825; MAF = 0.17%) associated with total hip BMD. Mouse models with mutations in either Npr3 or Spon1 have been reported, both have altered skeletal phenotypes, providing in vivo validation that these genes are physiologically important in bone. NRP3 regulates endochondral ossification and skeletal growth, whilst SPON1 modulates TGF-β regulated BMP-driven osteoblast differentiation. Rs9292469 (downstream of NPR3) also showed some evidence for association with forearm BMD in the independent GEFOS sample (n = 32,965). We found Spon1 was highly expressed in murine osteocytes from the tibiae, femora, humeri and calvaria, whereas Npr3 expression was more variable.

Conclusion: We report the most extreme-truncate GWAS of BMD performed to date. Our findings, suggest potentially new anabolic bone regulatory pathways that warrant further study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2018.06.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6086337PMC
September 2018

Mixed ductal-lobular carcinomas: evidence for progression from ductal to lobular morphology.

J Pathol 2018 04 9;244(4):460-468. Epub 2018 Mar 9.

Centre for Clinical Research, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

Mixed ductal-lobular carcinomas (MDLs) show both ductal and lobular morphology, and constitute an archetypal example of intratumoural morphological heterogeneity. The mechanisms underlying the coexistence of these different morphological entities are poorly understood, although theories include that these components either represent 'collision' of independent tumours or evolve from a common ancestor. We performed comprehensive clinicopathological analysis of a cohort of 82 MDLs, and found that: (1) MDLs more frequently coexist with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) than with lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS); (2) the E-cadherin-catenin complex was normal in the ductal component in 77.6% of tumours; and (3) in the lobular component, E-cadherin was almost always aberrantly located in the cytoplasm, in contrast to invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC), where E-cadherin is typically absent. Comparative genomic hybridization and multiregion whole exome sequencing of four representative cases revealed that all morphologically distinct components within an individual case were clonally related. The mutations identified varied between cases; those associated with a common clonal ancestry included BRCA2, TBX3, and TP53, whereas those associated with clonal divergence included CDH1 and ESR1. Together, these data support a model in which separate morphological components of MDLs arise from a common ancestor, and lobular morphology can arise via a ductal pathway of tumour progression. In MDLs that present with LCIS and DCIS, the clonal divergence probably occurs early, and is frequently associated with complete loss of E-cadherin expression, as in ILC, whereas, in the majority of MDLs, which present with DCIS but not LCIS, direct clonal divergence from the ductal to the lobular phenotype occurs late in tumour evolution, and is associated with aberrant expression of E-cadherin. The mechanisms driving the phenotypic change may involve E-cadherin-catenin complex deregulation, but are yet to be fully elucidated, as there is significant intertumoural heterogeneity, and each case may have a unique molecular mechanism. © 2018 The Authors. The Journal of Pathology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/path.5040DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5873281PMC
April 2018

Germline and somatic variant identification using BGISEQ-500 and HiSeq X Ten whole genome sequencing.

PLoS One 2018 10;13(1):e0190264. Epub 2018 Jan 10.

Department of Genetics and Computational Biology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Technological innovation and increased affordability have contributed to the widespread adoption of genome sequencing technologies in biomedical research. In particular large cancer research consortia have embraced next generation sequencing, and have used the technology to define the somatic mutation landscape of multiple cancer types. These studies have primarily utilised the Illumina HiSeq platforms. In this study we performed whole genome sequencing of three malignant pleural mesothelioma and matched normal samples using a new platform, the BGISEQ-500, and compared the results obtained with Illumina HiSeq X Ten. Germline and somatic, single nucleotide variants and small insertions or deletions were independently identified from data aligned human genome reference. The BGISEQ-500 and HiSeq X Ten platforms showed high concordance for germline calls with genotypes from SNP arrays (>99%). The germline and somatic single nucleotide variants identified in both sequencing platforms were highly concordant (86% and 72% respectively). These results indicate the potential applicability of the BGISEQ-500 platform for the identification of somatic and germline single nucleotide variants by whole genome sequencing. The BGISEQ-500 datasets described here represent the first publicly-available cancer genome sequencing performed using this platform.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0190264PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5761881PMC
February 2018

Defining the genetic susceptibility to cervical neoplasia-A genome-wide association study.

PLoS Genet 2017 08 14;13(8):e1006866. Epub 2017 Aug 14.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, United States of America.

A small percentage of women with cervical HPV infection progress to cervical neoplasia, and the risk factors determining progression are incompletely understood. We sought to define the genetic loci involved in cervical neoplasia and to assess its heritability using unbiased unrelated case/control statistical approaches. We demonstrated strong association of cervical neoplasia with risk and protective HLA haplotypes that are determined by the amino-acids carried at positions 13 and 71 in pocket 4 of HLA-DRB1 and position 156 in HLA-B. Furthermore, 36% (standard error 2.4%) of liability of HPV-associated cervical pre-cancer and cancer is determined by common genetic variants. Women in the highest 10% of genetic risk scores have approximately >7.1% risk, and those in the highest 5% have approximately >21.6% risk, of developing cervical neoplasia. Future studies should examine genetic risk prediction in assessing the risk of cervical neoplasia further, in combination with other screening methods.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1006866DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5570502PMC
August 2017

Whole-genome landscapes of major melanoma subtypes.

Nature 2017 05 3;545(7653):175-180. Epub 2017 May 3.

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland 4006, Australia.

Melanoma of the skin is a common cancer only in Europeans, whereas it arises in internal body surfaces (mucosal sites) and on the hands and feet (acral sites) in people throughout the world. Here we report analysis of whole-genome sequences from cutaneous, acral and mucosal subtypes of melanoma. The heavily mutated landscape of coding and non-coding mutations in cutaneous melanoma resolved novel signatures of mutagenesis attributable to ultraviolet radiation. However, acral and mucosal melanomas were dominated by structural changes and mutation signatures of unknown aetiology, not previously identified in melanoma. The number of genes affected by recurrent mutations disrupting non-coding sequences was similar to that affected by recurrent mutations to coding sequences. Significantly mutated genes included BRAF, CDKN2A, NRAS and TP53 in cutaneous melanoma, BRAF, NRAS and NF1 in acral melanoma and SF3B1 in mucosal melanoma. Mutations affecting the TERT promoter were the most frequent of all; however, neither they nor ATRX mutations, which correlate with alternative telomere lengthening, were associated with greater telomere length. Most melanomas had potentially actionable mutations, most in components of the mitogen-activated protein kinase and phosphoinositol kinase pathways. The whole-genome mutation landscape of melanoma reveals diverse carcinogenic processes across its subtypes, some unrelated to sun exposure, and extends potential involvement of the non-coding genome in its pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature22071DOI Listing
May 2017

Whole-genome landscape of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours.

Nature 2017 03 15;543(7643):65-71. Epub 2017 Feb 15.

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Herston Road, Brisbane 4006, Australia.

The diagnosis of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (PanNETs) is increasing owing to more sensitive detection methods, and this increase is creating challenges for clinical management. We performed whole-genome sequencing of 102 primary PanNETs and defined the genomic events that characterize their pathogenesis. Here we describe the mutational signatures they harbour, including a deficiency in G:C > T:A base excision repair due to inactivation of MUTYH, which encodes a DNA glycosylase. Clinically sporadic PanNETs contain a larger-than-expected proportion of germline mutations, including previously unreported mutations in the DNA repair genes MUTYH, CHEK2 and BRCA2. Together with mutations in MEN1 and VHL, these mutations occur in 17% of patients. Somatic mutations, including point mutations and gene fusions, were commonly found in genes involved in four main pathways: chromatin remodelling, DNA damage repair, activation of mTOR signalling (including previously undescribed EWSR1 gene fusions), and telomere maintenance. In addition, our gene expression analyses identified a subgroup of tumours associated with hypoxia and HIF signalling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature21063DOI Listing
March 2017

Hypermutation In Pancreatic Cancer.

Gastroenterology 2017 01 15;152(1):68-74.e2. Epub 2016 Nov 15.

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; Queensland Centre for Medical Genomics, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Pancreatic cancer is molecularly diverse, with few effective therapies. Increased mutation burden and defective DNA repair are associated with response to immune checkpoint inhibitors in several other cancer types. We interrogated 385 pancreatic cancer genomes to define hypermutation and its causes. Mutational signatures inferring defects in DNA repair were enriched in those with the highest mutation burdens. Mismatch repair deficiency was identified in 1% of tumors harboring different mechanisms of somatic inactivation of MLH1 and MSH2. Defining mutation load in individual pancreatic cancers and the optimal assay for patient selection may inform clinical trial design for immunotherapy in pancreatic cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2016.09.060DOI Listing
January 2017

Genomic analyses identify molecular subtypes of pancreatic cancer.

Nature 2016 Mar 24;531(7592):47-52. Epub 2016 Feb 24.

Queensland Centre for Medical Genomics, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.

Integrated genomic analysis of 456 pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas identified 32 recurrently mutated genes that aggregate into 10 pathways: KRAS, TGF-β, WNT, NOTCH, ROBO/SLIT signalling, G1/S transition, SWI-SNF, chromatin modification, DNA repair and RNA processing. Expression analysis defined 4 subtypes: (1) squamous; (2) pancreatic progenitor; (3) immunogenic; and (4) aberrantly differentiated endocrine exocrine (ADEX) that correlate with histopathological characteristics. Squamous tumours are enriched for TP53 and KDM6A mutations, upregulation of the TP63∆N transcriptional network, hypermethylation of pancreatic endodermal cell-fate determining genes and have a poor prognosis. Pancreatic progenitor tumours preferentially express genes involved in early pancreatic development (FOXA2/3, PDX1 and MNX1). ADEX tumours displayed upregulation of genes that regulate networks involved in KRAS activation, exocrine (NR5A2 and RBPJL), and endocrine differentiation (NEUROD1 and NKX2-2). Immunogenic tumours contained upregulated immune networks including pathways involved in acquired immune suppression. These data infer differences in the molecular evolution of pancreatic cancer subtypes and identify opportunities for therapeutic development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature16965DOI Listing
March 2016

Integrated genomic and transcriptomic analysis of human brain metastases identifies alterations of potential clinical significance.

J Pathol 2015 Nov 19;237(3):363-78. Epub 2015 Aug 19.

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Herston, Queensland, Australia.

Treatment options for patients with brain metastases (BMs) have limited efficacy and the mortality rate is virtually 100%. Targeted therapy is critically under-utilized, and our understanding of mechanisms underpinning metastatic outgrowth in the brain is limited. To address these deficiencies, we investigated the genomic and transcriptomic landscapes of 36 BMs from breast, lung, melanoma and oesophageal cancers, using DNA copy-number analysis and exome- and RNA-sequencing. The key findings were as follows. (a) Identification of novel candidates with possible roles in BM development, including the significantly mutated genes DSC2, ST7, PIK3R1 and SMC5, and the DNA repair, ERBB-HER signalling, axon guidance and protein kinase-A signalling pathways. (b) Mutational signature analysis was applied to successfully identify the primary cancer type for two BMs with unknown origins. (c) Actionable genomic alterations were identified in 31/36 BMs (86%); in one case we retrospectively identified ERBB2 amplification representing apparent HER2 status conversion, then confirmed progressive enrichment for HER2-positivity across four consecutive metastatic deposits by IHC and SISH, resulting in the deployment of HER2-targeted therapy for the patient. (d) In the ERBB/HER pathway, ERBB2 expression correlated with ERBB3 (r(2)  = 0.496; p < 0.0001) and HER3 and HER4 were frequently activated in an independent cohort of 167 archival BM from seven primary cancer types: 57.6% and 52.6% of cases were phospho-HER3(Y1222) or phospho-HER4(Y1162) membrane-positive, respectively. The HER3 ligands NRG1/2 were barely detectable by RNAseq, with NRG1 (8p12) genomic loss in 63.6% breast cancer-BMs, suggesting a microenvironmental source of ligand. In summary, this is the first study to characterize the genomic landscapes of BM. The data revealed novel candidates, potential clinical applications for genomic profiling of resectable BMs, and highlighted the possibility of therapeutically targeting HER3, which is broadly over-expressed and activated in BMs, independent of primary site and systemic therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/path.4583DOI Listing
November 2015

Whole-genome characterization of chemoresistant ovarian cancer.

Nature 2015 May;521(7553):489-94

Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, Southbank, Victoria 3006, Australia.

Patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSC) have experienced little improvement in overall survival, and standard treatment has not advanced beyond platinum-based combination chemotherapy, during the past 30 years. To understand the drivers of clinical phenotypes better, here we use whole-genome sequencing of tumour and germline DNA samples from 92 patients with primary refractory, resistant, sensitive and matched acquired resistant disease. We show that gene breakage commonly inactivates the tumour suppressors RB1, NF1, RAD51B and PTEN in HGSC, and contributes to acquired chemotherapy resistance. CCNE1 amplification was common in primary resistant and refractory disease. We observed several molecular events associated with acquired resistance, including multiple independent reversions of germline BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations in individual patients, loss of BRCA1 promoter methylation, an alteration in molecular subtype, and recurrent promoter fusion associated with overexpression of the drug efflux pump MDR1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature14410DOI Listing
May 2015

Recommendations for Accurate Resolution of Gene and Isoform Allele-Specific Expression in RNA-Seq Data.

PLoS One 2015 12;10(5):e0126911. Epub 2015 May 12.

Translational Research Centre, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland; Queensland Centre for Medical Genomics, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

Genetic variation modulates gene expression transcriptionally or post-transcriptionally, and can profoundly alter an individual's phenotype. Measuring allelic differential expression at heterozygous loci within an individual, a phenomenon called allele-specific expression (ASE), can assist in identifying such factors. Massively parallel DNA and RNA sequencing and advances in bioinformatic methodologies provide an outstanding opportunity to measure ASE genome-wide. In this study, matched DNA and RNA sequencing, genotyping arrays and computationally phased haplotypes were integrated to comprehensively and conservatively quantify ASE in a single human brain and liver tissue sample. We describe a methodological evaluation and assessment of common bioinformatic steps for ASE quantification, and recommend a robust approach to accurately measure SNP, gene and isoform ASE through the use of personalized haplotype genome alignment, strict alignment quality control and intragenic SNP aggregation. Our results indicate that accurate ASE quantification requires careful bioinformatic analyses and is adversely affected by sample specific alignment confounders and random sampling even at moderate sequence depths. We identified multiple known and several novel ASE genes in liver, including WDR72, DSP and UBD, as well as genes that contained ASE SNPs with imbalance direction discordant with haplotype phase, explainable by annotated transcript structure, suggesting isoform derived ASE. The methods evaluated in this study will be of use to researchers performing highly conservative quantification of ASE, and the genes and isoforms identified as ASE of interest to researchers studying those loci.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0126911PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4428808PMC
February 2016
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