Publications by authors named "Rafael C Schulman"

4 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Genome-wide cell-free DNA mutational integration enables ultra-sensitive cancer monitoring.

Nat Med 2020 07 1;26(7):1114-1124. Epub 2020 Jun 1.

New York Genome Center, New York, NY, USA.

In many areas of oncology, we lack sensitive tools to track low-burden disease. Although cell-free DNA (cfDNA) shows promise in detecting cancer mutations, we found that the combination of low tumor fraction (TF) and limited number of DNA fragments restricts low-disease-burden monitoring through the prevailing deep targeted sequencing paradigm. We reasoned that breadth may supplant depth of sequencing to overcome the barrier of cfDNA abundance. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of cfDNA allowed ultra-sensitive detection, capitalizing on the cumulative signal of thousands of somatic mutations observed in solid malignancies, with TF detection sensitivity as low as 10. The WGS approach enabled dynamic tumor burden tracking and postoperative residual disease detection, associated with adverse outcome. Thus, we present an orthogonal framework for cfDNA cancer monitoring via genome-wide mutational integration, enabling ultra-sensitive detection, overcoming the limitation of cfDNA abundance and empowering treatment optimization in low-disease-burden oncology care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-0915-3DOI Listing
July 2020

DNA methylation disruption reshapes the hematopoietic differentiation landscape.

Nat Genet 2020 04 23;52(4):378-387. Epub 2020 Mar 23.

New York Genome Center, New York, NY, USA.

Mutations in genes involved in DNA methylation (DNAme; for example, TET2 and DNMT3A) are frequently observed in hematological malignancies and clonal hematopoiesis. Applying single-cell sequencing to murine hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, we observed that these mutations disrupt hematopoietic differentiation, causing opposite shifts in the frequencies of erythroid versus myelomonocytic progenitors following Tet2 or Dnmt3a loss. Notably, these shifts trace back to transcriptional priming skews in uncommitted hematopoietic stem cells. To reconcile genome-wide DNAme changes with specific erythroid versus myelomonocytic skews, we provide evidence in support of differential sensitivity of transcription factors due to biases in CpG enrichment in their binding motif. Single-cell transcriptomes with targeted genotyping showed similar skews in transcriptional priming of DNMT3A-mutated human clonal hematopoiesis bone marrow progenitors. These data show that DNAme shapes the topography of hematopoietic differentiation, and support a model in which genome-wide methylation changes are transduced to differentiation skews through biases in CpG enrichment of the transcription factor binding motif.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-0595-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7216752PMC
April 2020

Epigenetic evolution and lineage histories of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Nature 2019 05 15;569(7757):576-580. Epub 2019 May 15.

New York Genome Center, New York, NY, USA.

Genetic and epigenetic intra-tumoral heterogeneity cooperate to shape the evolutionary course of cancer. Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is a highly informative model for cancer evolution as it undergoes substantial genetic diversification and evolution after therapy. The CLL epigenome is also an important disease-defining feature, and growing populations of cells in CLL diversify by stochastic changes in DNA methylation known as epimutations. However, previous studies using bulk sequencing methods to analyse the patterns of DNA methylation were unable to determine whether epimutations affect CLL populations homogeneously. Here, to measure the epimutation rate at single-cell resolution, we applied multiplexed single-cell reduced-representation bisulfite sequencing to B cells from healthy donors and patients with CLL. We observed that the common clonal origin of CLL results in a consistently increased epimutation rate, with low variability in the cell-to-cell epimutation rate. By contrast, variable epimutation rates across healthy B cells reflect diverse evolutionary ages across the trajectory of B cell differentiation, consistent with epimutations serving as a molecular clock. Heritable epimutation information allowed us to reconstruct lineages at high-resolution with single-cell data, and to apply this directly to patient samples. The CLL lineage tree shape revealed earlier branching and longer branch lengths than in normal B cells, reflecting rapid drift after the initial malignant transformation and a greater proliferative history. Integration of single-cell bisulfite sequencing analysis with single-cell transcriptomes and genotyping confirmed that genetic subclones mapped to distinct clades, as inferred solely on the basis of epimutation information. Finally, to examine potential lineage biases during therapy, we profiled serial samples during ibrutinib-associated lymphocytosis, and identified clades of cells that were preferentially expelled from the lymph node after treatment, marked by distinct transcriptional profiles. The single-cell integration of genetic, epigenetic and transcriptional information thus charts the lineage history of CLL and its evolution with therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1198-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6533116PMC
May 2019

Corrupted coordination of epigenetic modifications leads to diverging chromatin states and transcriptional heterogeneity in CLL.

Nat Commun 2019 04 23;10(1):1874. Epub 2019 Apr 23.

New York Genome Center, New York, 10013, NY, USA.

Cancer evolution is fueled by epigenetic as well as genetic diversity. In chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), intra-tumoral DNA methylation (DNAme) heterogeneity empowers evolution. Here, to comprehensively study the epigenetic dimension of cancer evolution, we integrate DNAme analysis with histone modification mapping and single cell analyses of RNA expression and DNAme in 22 primary CLL and 13 healthy donor B lymphocyte samples. Our data reveal corrupted coherence across different layers of the CLL epigenome. This manifests in decreased mutual information across epigenetic modifications and gene expression attributed to cell-to-cell heterogeneity. Disrupted epigenetic-transcriptional coordination in CLL is also reflected in the dysregulation of the transcriptional output as a function of the combinatorial chromatin states, including incomplete Polycomb-mediated gene silencing. Notably, we observe unexpected co-mapping of typically mutually exclusive activating and repressing histone modifications, suggestive of intra-tumoral epigenetic diversity. Thus, CLL epigenetic diversification leads to decreased coordination across layers of epigenetic information, likely reflecting an admixture of cells with diverging cellular identities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-09645-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6478836PMC
April 2019