Publications by authors named "Simon Papillon-Cavanagh"

17 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Molecular correlates of response to nivolumab at baseline and on treatment in patients with RCC.

J Immunother Cancer 2021 Mar;9(3)

Translational Medicine, Bristol Myers Squibb, Princeton, New Jersey, USA

Background: Nivolumab is an immune checkpoint inhibitor targeting the programmed death-1 receptor that improves survival in a subset of patients with clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). In contrast to other tumor types that respond to immunotherapy, factors such as programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) status and tumor mutational burden show limited predictive utility in ccRCC. To address this gap, we report here the first molecular characterization of nivolumab response using paired index lesions, before and during treatment of metastatic ccRCC.

Methods: We analyzed gene expression and T-cell receptor (TCR) clonality using lesion-paired biopsies provided in the CheckMate 009 trial and integrated the results with their PD-L1/CD4/CD8 status, genomic mutation status and serum cytokine assays. Statistical tests included linear mixed models, logistic regression models, Fisher's exact test, and Kruskal-Wallis rank-sum test.

Results: We identified transcripts related to response, both at baseline and on therapy, including several that are amenable to peripheral bioassays or to therapeutic intervention. At both timepoints, response was positively associated with T-cell infiltration but not associated with TCR clonality, and some non-Responders were highly infiltrated. Lower baseline T-cell infiltration correlated with elevated transcription of Wnt/β-catenin signaling components and hypoxia-regulated genes, including the Treg chemoattractant CCL28. On treatment, analysis of the non-responding patients whose tumors were highly T-cell infiltrated suggests association of the RIG-I-MDA5 pathway in their nivolumab resistance. We also analyzed our data using previous transcriptional classifications of ccRCC and found they concordantly identified a molecular subtype that has enhanced nivolumab response but is sunitinib-resistant.

Conclusion: Our study describes molecular characteristics of response and resistance to nivolumab in patients with metastatic ccRCC, potentially impacting patient selection and first-line treatment decisions.

Trial Registration Number: NCT01358721.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-001506DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7931766PMC
March 2021

and mutations as prognostic biomarkers in an observational real-world lung adenocarcinoma cohort.

ESMO Open 2020 04;5(2)

Translational Medicine, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co, Princeton, New Jersey, USA

Introduction: Somatic mutations in and , frequently comutated in non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSQ NSCLC), have been associated with poor response to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB). However, previous reports lack non-ICB controls needed to properly ascertain the predictive nature of those biomarkers. The objective of this study was to evaluate the predictive versus prognostic effect of or mutations in NSQ NSCLC.

Methods: Patients diagnosed with stage IIIB, IIIC, IVA or IVB NSQ NSCLC from a real-world data cohort from the Flatiron Health Network linked with genetic testing from Foundation Medicine were retrospectively assessed. Real-world, progression-free survival (rwPFS) and overall survival (OS) were calculated from time of initiation of first-line treatment.

Results: We analysed clinical and mutational data for 2276 patients including patients treated with anti-programmed death-1 (PD-1)/anti-programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) inhibitors at first line (n=574). Mutations in or were associated with poor outcomes across multiple therapeutic classes and were not specifically associated with poor outcomes in ICB cohorts. There was no observable interaction between mutations and anti-PD-1/anti-PD-L1 treatment on rwPFS (HR, 1.05; 95% CI 0.76 to 1.44; p=0.785) or OS (HR, 1.13; 95% CI 0.76 to 1.67; p=0.540). Similarly, there was no observable interaction between mutations and treatment on rwPFS (HR, 0.93; 95% CI 0.67 to 1.28; p=0.653) or OS (HR, 0.98; 95% CI 0.66 to 1.45; p=0.913).

Conclusion: Our results show that mutations are prognostic, not predictive, biomarkers for anti-PD-1/anti-PD-L1 therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2020-000706DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7199918PMC
April 2020

The molecular landscape of ETMR at diagnosis and relapse.

Nature 2019 12 4;576(7786):274-280. Epub 2019 Dec 4.

Department of Pathology, St Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA.

Embryonal tumours with multilayered rosettes (ETMRs) are aggressive paediatric embryonal brain tumours with a universally poor prognosis. Here we collected 193 primary ETMRs and 23 matched relapse samples to investigate the genomic landscape of this distinct tumour type. We found that patients with tumours in which the proposed driver C19MC was not amplified frequently had germline mutations in DICER1 or other microRNA-related aberrations such as somatic amplification of miR-17-92 (also known as MIR17HG). Whole-genome sequencing revealed that tumours had an overall low recurrence of single-nucleotide variants (SNVs), but showed prevalent genomic instability caused by widespread occurrence of R-loop structures. We show that R-loop-associated chromosomal instability can be induced by the loss of DICER1 function. Comparison of primary tumours and matched relapse samples showed a strong conservation of structural variants, but low conservation of SNVs. Moreover, many newly acquired SNVs are associated with a mutational signature related to cisplatin treatment. Finally, we show that targeting R-loops with topoisomerase and PARP inhibitors might be an effective treatment strategy for this deadly disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1815-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6908757PMC
December 2019

The histone mark H3K36me2 recruits DNMT3A and shapes the intergenic DNA methylation landscape.

Nature 2019 09 4;573(7773):281-286. Epub 2019 Sep 4.

Department of Genetics and Development, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.

Enzymes that catalyse CpG methylation in DNA, including the DNA methyltransferases 1 (DNMT1), 3A (DNMT3A) and 3B (DNMT3B), are indispensable for mammalian tissue development and homeostasis. They are also implicated in human developmental disorders and cancers, supporting the critical role of DNA methylation in the specification and maintenance of cell fate. Previous studies have suggested that post-translational modifications of histones are involved in specifying patterns of DNA methyltransferase localization and DNA methylation at promoters and actively transcribed gene bodies. However, the mechanisms that control the establishment and maintenance of intergenic DNA methylation remain poorly understood. Tatton-Brown-Rahman syndrome (TBRS) is a childhood overgrowth disorder that is defined by germline mutations in DNMT3A. TBRS shares clinical features with Sotos syndrome (which is caused by haploinsufficiency of NSD1, a histone methyltransferase that catalyses the dimethylation of histone H3 at K36 (H3K36me2)), which suggests that there is a mechanistic link between these two diseases. Here we report that NSD1-mediated H3K36me2 is required for the recruitment of DNMT3A and maintenance of DNA methylation at intergenic regions. Genome-wide analysis shows that the binding and activity of DNMT3A colocalize with H3K36me2 at non-coding regions of euchromatin. Genetic ablation of Nsd1 and its paralogue Nsd2 in mouse cells results in a redistribution of DNMT3A to H3K36me3-modified gene bodies and a reduction in the methylation of intergenic DNA. Blood samples from patients with Sotos syndrome and NSD1-mutant tumours also exhibit hypomethylation of intergenic DNA. The PWWP domain of DNMT3A shows dual recognition of H3K36me2 and H3K36me3 in vitro, with a higher binding affinity towards H3K36me2 that is abrogated by TBRS-derived missense mutations. Together, our study reveals a trans-chromatin regulatory pathway that connects aberrant intergenic CpG methylation to human neoplastic and developmental overgrowth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1534-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6742567PMC
September 2019

H3K27M induces defective chromatin spread of PRC2-mediated repressive H3K27me2/me3 and is essential for glioma tumorigenesis.

Nat Commun 2019 03 19;10(1):1262. Epub 2019 Mar 19.

Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, and Penn Epigenetics Institute, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.

Lys-27-Met mutations in histone 3 genes (H3K27M) characterize a subgroup of deadly gliomas and decrease genome-wide H3K27 trimethylation. Here we use primary H3K27M tumor lines and isogenic CRISPR-edited controls to assess H3K27M effects in vitro and in vivo. We find that whereas H3K27me3 and H3K27me2 are normally deposited by PRC2 across broad regions, their deposition is severely reduced in H3.3K27M cells. H3K27me3 is unable to spread from large unmethylated CpG islands, while H3K27me2 can be deposited outside these PRC2 high-affinity sites but to levels corresponding to H3K27me3 deposition in wild-type cells. Our findings indicate that PRC2 recruitment and propagation on chromatin are seemingly unaffected by K27M, which mostly impairs spread of the repressive marks it catalyzes, especially H3K27me3. Genome-wide loss of H3K27me3 and me2 deposition has limited transcriptomic consequences, preferentially affecting lowly-expressed genes regulating neurogenesis. Removal of H3K27M restores H3K27me2/me3 spread, impairs cell proliferation, and completely abolishes their capacity to form tumors in mice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-09140-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6425035PMC
March 2019

Spatial heterogeneity in medulloblastoma.

Nat Genet 2017 May 10;49(5):780-788. Epub 2017 Apr 10.

Developmental &Stem Cell Biology Program, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Spatial heterogeneity of transcriptional and genetic markers between physically isolated biopsies of a single tumor poses major barriers to the identification of biomarkers and the development of targeted therapies that will be effective against the entire tumor. We analyzed the spatial heterogeneity of multiregional biopsies from 35 patients, using a combination of transcriptomic and genomic profiles. Medulloblastomas (MBs), but not high-grade gliomas (HGGs), demonstrated spatially homogeneous transcriptomes, which allowed for accurate subgrouping of tumors from a single biopsy. Conversely, somatic mutations that affect genes suitable for targeted therapeutics demonstrated high levels of spatial heterogeneity in MB, malignant glioma, and renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Actionable targets found in a single MB biopsy were seldom clonal across the entire tumor, which brings the efficacy of monotherapies against a single target into question. Clinical trials of targeted therapies for MB should first ensure the spatially ubiquitous nature of the target mutation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3838DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5553617PMC
May 2017

Impaired H3K36 methylation defines a subset of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas.

Nat Genet 2017 Feb 9;49(2):180-185. Epub 2017 Jan 9.

Department of Human Genetics, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Human papillomavirus (HPV)-negative head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) are deadly and common cancers. Recent genomic studies implicate multiple genetic pathways, including cell signaling, cell cycle and immune evasion, in their development. Here we analyze public data sets and uncover a previously unappreciated role of epigenome deregulation in the genesis of 13% of HPV-negative HNSCCs. Specifically, we identify novel recurrent mutations encoding p.Lys36Met (K36M) alterations in multiple H3 histone genes. histones. We further validate the presence of these alterations in multiple independent HNSCC data sets and show that, along with previously described NSD1 mutations, they correspond to a specific DNA methylation cluster. The K36M substitution and NSD1 defects converge on altering methylation of histone H3 at K36 (H3K36), subsequently blocking cellular differentiation and promoting oncogenesis. Our data further indicate limited redundancy for NSD family members in HPV-negative HNSCCs and suggest a potential role for impaired H3K36 methylation in their development. Further investigation of drugs targeting chromatin regulators is warranted in HPV-negative HNSCCs driven by aberrant H3K36 methylation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3757DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5549104PMC
February 2017

Histone H3K36 mutations promote sarcomagenesis through altered histone methylation landscape.

Science 2016 May;352(6287):844-9

Epigenetics Theme, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53715, USA. Department of Biomolecular Chemistry, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53715, USA.

Several types of pediatric cancers reportedly contain high-frequency missense mutations in histone H3, yet the underlying oncogenic mechanism remains poorly characterized. Here we report that the H3 lysine 36-to-methionine (H3K36M) mutation impairs the differentiation of mesenchymal progenitor cells and generates undifferentiated sarcoma in vivo. H3K36M mutant nucleosomes inhibit the enzymatic activities of several H3K36 methyltransferases. Depleting H3K36 methyltransferases, or expressing an H3K36I mutant that similarly inhibits H3K36 methylation, is sufficient to phenocopy the H3K36M mutation. After the loss of H3K36 methylation, a genome-wide gain in H3K27 methylation leads to a redistribution of polycomb repressive complex 1 and de-repression of its target genes known to block mesenchymal differentiation. Our findings are mirrored in human undifferentiated sarcomas in which novel K36M/I mutations in H3.1 are identified.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aac7272DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4928577PMC
May 2016

Spatial and temporal homogeneity of driver mutations in diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma.

Nat Commun 2016 Apr 6;7:11185. Epub 2016 Apr 6.

Research Center for Genetic Medicine, Children's National Health System, Washington, District Of Columbia 20010, USA.

Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas (DIPGs) are deadly paediatric brain tumours where needle biopsies help guide diagnosis and targeted therapies. To address spatial heterogeneity, here we analyse 134 specimens from various neuroanatomical structures of whole autopsy brains from nine DIPG patients. Evolutionary reconstruction indicates histone 3 (H3) K27M--including H3.2K27M--mutations potentially arise first and are invariably associated with specific, high-fidelity obligate partners throughout the tumour and its spread, from diagnosis to end-stage disease, suggesting mutual need for tumorigenesis. These H3K27M ubiquitously-associated mutations involve alterations in TP53 cell-cycle (TP53/PPM1D) or specific growth factor pathways (ACVR1/PIK3R1). Later oncogenic alterations arise in sub-clones and often affect the PI3K pathway. Our findings are consistent with early tumour spread outside the brainstem including the cerebrum. The spatial and temporal homogeneity of main driver mutations in DIPG implies they will be captured by limited biopsies and emphasizes the need to develop therapies specifically targeting obligate oncohistone partnerships.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms11185DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4823825PMC
April 2016

Mutation in the nuclear-encoded mitochondrial isoleucyl-tRNA synthetase IARS2 in patients with cataracts, growth hormone deficiency with short stature, partial sensorineural deafness, and peripheral neuropathy or with Leigh syndrome.

Hum Mutat 2014 Nov 18;35(11):1285-9. Epub 2014 Oct 18.

McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Mutations in the nuclear-encoded mitochondrial aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases are associated with a range of clinical phenotypes. Here, we report a novel disorder in three adult patients with a phenotype including cataracts, short-stature secondary to growth hormone deficiency, sensorineural hearing deficit, peripheral sensory neuropathy, and skeletal dysplasia. Using SNP genotyping and whole-exome sequencing, we identified a single likely causal variant, a missense mutation in a conserved residue of the nuclear gene IARS2, encoding mitochondrial isoleucyl-tRNA synthetase. The mutation is homozygous in the affected patients, heterozygous in carriers, and absent in control chromosomes. IARS2 protein level was reduced in skin cells cultured from one of the patients, consistent with a pathogenic effect of the mutation. Compound heterozygous mutations in IARS2 were independently identified in a previously unreported patient with a more severe mitochondrial phenotype diagnosed as Leigh syndrome. This is the first report of clinical findings associated with IARS2 mutations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.22629DOI Listing
November 2014

Epigenetic dysregulation: a novel pathway of oncogenesis in pediatric brain tumors.

Acta Neuropathol 2014 Nov 31;128(5):615-27. Epub 2014 Jul 31.

Division of Experimental Medicine, Montreal Children's Hospital, McGill University and McGill University Health Centre, 4060 Ste Catherine West, PT239, Montreal, QC, H3Z 2Z3, Canada.

A remarkably large number of "epigenetic regulators" have been recently identified to be altered in cancers and a rapidly expanding body of literature points to "epigenetic addiction" (an aberrant epigenetic state to which a tumor is addicted) as a new previously unsuspected mechanism of oncogenesis. Although mutations are also found in canonical signaling pathway genes, we and others identified chromatin-associated proteins to be more commonly altered by somatic alterations than any other class of oncoprotein in several subgroups of childhood high-grade brain tumors. Furthermore, as these childhood malignancies carry fewer non-synonymous somatic mutations per case in contrast to most adult cancers, these mutations are likely drivers in these tumors. Herein, we will use as examples of this novel hallmark of oncogenesis high-grade astrocytomas, including glioblastoma, and a subgroup of embryonal tumors, embryonal tumor with multilayered rosettes (ETMR) to describe the novel molecular defects uncovered in these deadly tumors. We will further discuss evidence for their profound effects on the epigenome. The relative genetic simplicity of these tumors promises general insights into how mutations in the chromatin machinery modify downstream epigenetic signatures to drive transformation, and how to target this plastic genetic/epigenetic interface.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-014-1325-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4201756PMC
November 2014

Recurrent somatic mutations in ACVR1 in pediatric midline high-grade astrocytoma.

Nat Genet 2014 May 6;46(5):462-6. Epub 2014 Apr 6.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.

Pediatric midline high-grade astrocytomas (mHGAs) are incurable with few treatment targets identified. Most tumors harbor mutations encoding p.Lys27Met in histone H3 variants. In 40 treatment-naive mHGAs, 39 analyzed by whole-exome sequencing, we find additional somatic mutations specific to tumor location. Gain-of-function mutations in ACVR1 occur in tumors of the pons in conjunction with histone H3.1 p.Lys27Met substitution, whereas FGFR1 mutations or fusions occur in thalamic tumors associated with histone H3.3 p.Lys27Met substitution. Hyperactivation of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-ACVR1 developmental pathway in mHGAs harboring ACVR1 mutations led to increased levels of phosphorylated SMAD1, SMAD5 and SMAD8 and upregulation of BMP downstream early-response genes in tumor cells. Global DNA methylation profiles were significantly associated with the p.Lys27Met alteration, regardless of the mutant histone H3 variant and irrespective of tumor location, supporting the role of this substitution in driving the epigenetic phenotype. This work considerably expands the number of potential treatment targets and further justifies pretreatment biopsy in pediatric mHGA as a means to orient therapeutic efforts in this disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.2950DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4282994PMC
May 2014

Fusion of TTYH1 with the C19MC microRNA cluster drives expression of a brain-specific DNMT3B isoform in the embryonal brain tumor ETMR.

Nat Genet 2014 Jan 8;46(1):39-44. Epub 2013 Dec 8.

Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Embryonal tumors with multilayered rosettes (ETMRs) are rare, deadly pediatric brain tumors characterized by high-level amplification of the microRNA cluster C19MC. We performed integrated genetic and epigenetic analyses of 12 ETMR samples and identified, in all cases, C19MC fusions to TTYH1 driving expression of the microRNAs. ETMR tumors, cell lines and xenografts showed a specific DNA methylation pattern distinct from those of other tumors and normal tissues. We detected extreme overexpression of a previously uncharacterized isoform of DNMT3B originating at an alternative promoter that is active only in the first weeks of neural tube development. Transcriptional and immunohistochemical analyses suggest that C19MC-dependent DNMT3B deregulation is mediated by RBL2, a known repressor of DNMT3B. Transfection with individual C19MC microRNAs resulted in DNMT3B upregulation and RBL2 downregulation in cultured cells. Our data suggest a potential oncogenic re-engagement of an early developmental program in ETMR via epigenetic alteration mediated by an embryonic, brain-specific DNMT3B isoform.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.2849DOI Listing
January 2014

mRMRe: an R package for parallelized mRMR ensemble feature selection.

Bioinformatics 2013 Sep 3;29(18):2365-8. Epub 2013 Jul 3.

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Laboratory, Integrative Systems Biology Axis, Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal, Montreal, H2W 1R7, Quebec, Canada.

Motivation: Feature selection is one of the main challenges in analyzing high-throughput genomic data. Minimum redundancy maximum relevance (mRMR) is a particularly fast feature selection method for finding a set of both relevant and complementary features. Here we describe the mRMRe R package, in which the mRMR technique is extended by using an ensemble approach to better explore the feature space and build more robust predictors. To deal with the computational complexity of the ensemble approach, the main functions of the package are implemented and parallelized in C using the openMP Application Programming Interface.

Results: Our ensemble mRMR implementations outperform the classical mRMR approach in terms of prediction accuracy. They identify genes more relevant to the biological context and may lead to richer biological interpretations. The parallelized functions included in the package show significant gains in terms of run-time speed when compared with previously released packages.

Availability: The R package mRMRe is available on Comprehensive R Archive Network and is provided open source under the Artistic-2.0 License. The code used to generate all the results reported in this application note is available from Supplementary File 1.

Contact: bhaibeka@ircm.qc.ca

Supplementary Information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btt383DOI Listing
September 2013

Comparison and validation of genomic predictors for anticancer drug sensitivity.

J Am Med Inform Assoc 2013 Jul-Aug;20(4):597-602. Epub 2013 Jan 26.

Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics Laboratory, Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Background: An enduring challenge in personalized medicine lies in selecting the right drug for each individual patient. While testing of drugs on patients in large trials is the only way to assess their clinical efficacy and toxicity, we dramatically lack resources to test the hundreds of drugs currently under development. Therefore the use of preclinical model systems has been intensively investigated as this approach enables response to hundreds of drugs to be tested in multiple cell lines in parallel.

Methods: Two large-scale pharmacogenomic studies recently screened multiple anticancer drugs on over 1000 cell lines. We propose to combine these datasets to build and robustly validate genomic predictors of drug response. We compared five different approaches for building predictors of increasing complexity. We assessed their performance in cross-validation and in two large validation sets, one containing the same cell lines present in the training set and another dataset composed of cell lines that have never been used during the training phase.

Results: Sixteen drugs were found in common between the datasets. We were able to validate multivariate predictors for three out of the 16 tested drugs, namely irinotecan, PD-0325901, and PLX4720. Moreover, we observed that response to 17-AAG, an inhibitor of Hsp90, could be efficiently predicted by the expression level of a single gene, NQO1.

Conclusion: These results suggest that genomic predictors could be robustly validated for specific drugs. If successfully validated in patients' tumor cells, and subsequently in clinical trials, they could act as companion tests for the corresponding drugs and play an important role in personalized medicine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/amiajnl-2012-001442DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3721163PMC
September 2013

Mutations in C5ORF42 cause Joubert syndrome in the French Canadian population.

Am J Hum Genet 2012 Apr 15;90(4):693-700. Epub 2012 Mar 15.

Centre of Excellence in Neurosciences, Université de Montréal and Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Center, Montréal, QC, Canada.

Joubert syndrome (JBTS) is an autosomal-recessive disorder characterized by a distinctive mid-hindbrain malformation, developmental delay with hypotonia, ocular-motor apraxia, and breathing abnormalities. Although JBTS was first described more than 40 years ago in French Canadian siblings, the causal mutations have not yet been identified in this family nor in most French Canadian individuals subsequently described. We ascertained a cluster of 16 JBTS-affected individuals from 11 families living in the Lower St. Lawrence region. SNP genotyping excluded the presence of a common homozygous mutation that would explain the clustering of these individuals. Exome sequencing performed on 15 subjects showed that nine affected individuals from seven families (including the original JBTS family) carried rare compound-heterozygous mutations in C5ORF42. Two missense variants (c.4006C>T [p.Arg1336Trp] and c.4690G>A [p.Ala1564Thr]) and a splicing mutation (c.7400+1G>A), which causes exon skipping, were found in multiple subjects that were not known to be related, whereas three other truncating mutations (c.6407del [p.Pro2136Hisfs*31], c.4804C>T [p.Arg1602*], and c.7477C>T [p.Arg2493*]) were identified in single individuals. None of the unaffected first-degree relatives were compound heterozygous for these mutations. Moreover, none of the six putative mutations were detected among 477 French Canadian controls. Our data suggest that mutations in C5ORF42 explain a large portion of French Canadian individuals with JBTS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2012.02.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3322222PMC
April 2012

Mutations in a novel serine protease PRSS56 in families with nanophthalmos.

Mol Vis 2011 12;17:1850-61. Epub 2011 Jul 12.

Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Purpose: Nanophthalmos is a rare genetic ocular disorder in which the eyes of affected individuals are abnormally small. Patients suffer from severe hyperopia as a result of their markedly reduced axial lengths, but otherwise are capable of seeing well unlike other more general forms of microphthalmia. To date one gene for nanophthalmos has been identified, encoding the membrane-type frizzled related protein MFRP. Identification of additional genes for nanophthalmos will improve our understanding of normal developmental regulation of eye growth.

Methods: We ascertained a cohort of families from eastern Canada and Mexico with familial nanophthalmos. We performed high density microsatellite and high density single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping to identify potential chromosomal regions of linkage. We sequenced coding regions of genes in the linked interval by traditional PCR-based Sanger capillary electrophoresis methods. We cloned and sequenced a novel cDNA from a putative causal gene to verify gene structure.

Results: We identified a linked locus on chromosome 2q37 with a peak logarithm (base 10) of odds (LOD) score of 4.7. Sequencing of coding exons of all genes in the region identified multiple segregating variants in one gene, recently annotated as serine protease gene (PRSS56), coding for a predicted trypsin serine protease-like protein. One of our families was homozygous for a predicted pathogenic missense mutation, one family was compound heterozygous for two predicted pathogenic missense mutations, and one family was compound heterozygous for a predicted pathogenic missense mutation plus a frameshift leading to obligatory truncation of the predicted protein. The PRSS56 gene structure in public databases is based on a virtual transcript assembled from overlapping incomplete cDNA clones; we have now validated the structure of a full-length transcript from embryonic mouse brain RNA.

Conclusions: PRSS56 is a good candidate for the causal gene for nanophthalmos in our families.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3137557PMC
December 2011