E-MTAB-1088 - Transcription profiling by array of 17 human breast cancer samples
Last updated on 28 June 2012, released on 29 June 2012
Cancer evolves dynamically, as clonal expansions supersede or overlap one another, driven by shifting selective pressures, mutational processes and disrupted cancer genes. These processes mark the genome, such that a cancerÕs life history is encrypted in the timing, ploidy, clonality and patterns of somatic mutation. We developed bioinformatic algorithms to decipher this narrative, and applied them to 21 breast cancer genomes. We find that mutational processes evolve across the lifespan of a breast tumor, with cancer-specific signatures of point mutations and chromosomal instability often emerging late but contributing extensive genetic variation. Subclonal diversification is prominent, providing insight into the dynamics of clonal expansion in breast cancer. Most point mutations are found in just a fraction of tumor cells, together with frequent variegation in chromosomal copy number. Every tumor studied here has a dominant subclonal lineage, representing more than 50% of tumor cells. Minimal expansion of these subclones occurs until many hundreds to thousands of mutations have accumulated, implying the existence of long-lived, quiescent lineages of cells that are capable of substantial proliferation upon acquisition of enabling genomic changes. Expansion of the dominant subclone to an appreciable mass may therefore represent the final rate-limiting step in a breast cancer's development, triggering diagnosis.
transcription profiling by array, co-expression, individual genetic characteristics, reference