Barry, P., Vatsiou, A., Spiteri, I., Nichol, D., Cresswell, G.D., Acar, A., Trahearn, N., Hrebien, S., Garcia-Murillas, I., Chkhaidze, K., et al.
(2018). The Spatiotemporal Evolution of Lymph Node Spread in Early Breast Cancer. Clin cancer res,
Purpose: The most significant prognostic factor in early breast cancer is lymph node involvement. This stage between localized and systemic disease is key to understanding breast cancer progression; however, our knowledge of the evolution of lymph node malignant invasion remains limited, as most currently available data are derived from primary tumors.Experimental Design: In 11 patients with treatment-naïve node-positive early breast cancer without clinical evidence of distant metastasis, we investigated lymph node evolution using spatial multiregion sequencing (n = 78 samples) of primary and lymph node deposits and genomic profiling of matched longitudinal circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA).Results: Linear evolution from primary to lymph node was rare (1/11), whereas the majority of cases displayed either early divergence between primary and nodes (4/11) or no detectable divergence (6/11), where both primary and nodal cells belonged to a single recent expansion of a metastatic clone. Divergence of metastatic subclones was driven in part by APOBEC. Longitudinal ctDNA samples from 2 of 7 subjects with evaluable plasma taken perioperatively reflected the two major evolutionary patterns and demonstrate that private mutations can be detected even from early metastatic nodal deposits. Moreover, node removal resulted in disappearance of private lymph node mutations in ctDNA.Conclusions: This study sheds new light on a crucial evolutionary step in the natural history of breast cancer, demonstrating early establishment of axillary lymph node metastasis in a substantial proportion of patients. Clin Cancer Res; 24(19); 4763-70. ©2018 AACR..
(2018). Divergent adaptation in thyroid cancers. Ann oncol,
Williams, M.J., Werner, B., Barnes, C.P., Graham, T.A. & Sottoriva, A.
(2018). Reply: Is the evolution of tumors Darwinian or non-Darwinian?. National science review,
Werner, B. & Sottoriva, A.
(2018). Variation of mutational burden in healthy human tissues suggests non-random strand segregation and allows measuring somatic mutation rates. Plos comput biol,
The immortal strand hypothesis poses that stem cells could produce differentiated progeny while conserving the original template strand, thus avoiding accumulating somatic mutations. However, quantitating the extent of non-random DNA strand segregation in human stem cells remains difficult in vivo. Here we show that the change of the mean and variance of the mutational burden with age in healthy human tissues allows estimating strand segregation probabilities and somatic mutation rates. We analysed deep sequencing data from healthy human colon, small intestine, liver, skin and brain. We found highly effective non-random DNA strand segregation in all adult tissues (mean strand segregation probability: 0.98, standard error bounds (0.97,0.99)). In contrast, non-random strand segregation efficiency is reduced to 0.87 (0.78,0.88) in neural tissue during early development, suggesting stem cell pool expansions due to symmetric self-renewal. Healthy somatic mutation rates differed across tissue types, ranging from 3.5 × 10-9/bp/division in small intestine to 1.6 × 10-7/bp/division in skin..
Williams, M.J., Werner, B., Heide, T., Curtis, C., Barnes, C.P., Sottoriva, A. & Graham, T.A.
(2018). Quantification of subclonal selection in cancer from bulk sequencing data. Nat genet,
Subclonal architectures are prevalent across cancer types. However, the temporal evolutionary dynamics that produce tumor subclones remain unknown. Here we measure clone dynamics in human cancers by using computational modeling of subclonal selection and theoretical population genetics applied to high-throughput sequencing data. Our method determined the detectable subclonal architecture of tumor samples and simultaneously measured the selective advantage and time of appearance of each subclone. We demonstrate the accuracy of our approach and the extent to which evolutionary dynamics are recorded in the genome. Application of our method to high-depth sequencing data from breast, gastric, blood, colon and lung cancer samples, as well as metastatic deposits, showed that detectable subclones under selection, when present, consistently emerged early during tumor growth and had a large fitness advantage (>20%). Our quantitative framework provides new insight into the evolutionary trajectories of human cancers and facilitates predictive measurements in individual tumors from widely available sequencing data..
Caravagna, G., Giarratano, Y., Ramazzotti, D., Tomlinson, I., Graham, T.A., Sanguinetti, G. & Sottoriva, A.
(2018). Detecting repeated cancer evolution from multi-region tumor sequencing data. Nat methods,
Recurrent successions of genomic changes, both within and between patients, reflect repeated evolutionary processes that are valuable for the anticipation of cancer progression. Multi-region sequencing allows the temporal order of some genomic changes in a tumor to be inferred, but the robust identification of repeated evolution across patients remains a challenge. We developed a machine-learning method based on transfer learning that allowed us to overcome the stochastic effects of cancer evolution and noise in data and identified hidden evolutionary patterns in cancer cohorts. When applied to multi-region sequencing datasets from lung, breast, renal, and colorectal cancer (768 samples from 178 patients), our method detected repeated evolutionary trajectories in subgroups of patients, which were reproduced in single-sample cohorts (n = 2,935). Our method provides a means of classifying patients on the basis of how their tumor evolved, with implications for the anticipation of disease progression..
Cross, W., Kovac, M., Mustonen, V., Temko, D., Davis, H., Baker, A.-., Biswas, S., Arnold, R., Chegwidden, L., Gatenbee, C., et al.
(2018). The evolutionary landscape of colorectal tumorigenesis. Nat ecol evol,
The evolutionary events that cause colorectal adenomas (benign) to progress to carcinomas (malignant) remain largely undetermined. Using multi-region genome and exome sequencing of 24 benign and malignant colorectal tumours, we investigate the evolutionary fitness landscape occupied by these neoplasms. Unlike carcinomas, advanced adenomas frequently harbour sub-clonal driver mutations-considered to be functionally important in the carcinogenic process-that have not swept to fixation, and have relatively high genetic heterogeneity. Carcinomas are distinguished from adenomas by widespread aneusomies that are usually clonal and often accrue in a 'punctuated' fashion. We conclude that adenomas evolve across an undulating fitness landscape, whereas carcinomas occupy a sharper fitness peak, probably owing to stabilizing selection..
Khan, K.H., Cunningham, D., Werner, B., Vlachogiannis, G., Spiteri, I., Heide, T., Mateos, J.F., Vatsiou, A., Lampis, A., Damavandi, M.D., et al.
(2018). Longitudinal Liquid Biopsy and Mathematical Modeling of Clonal Evolution Forecast Time to Treatment Failure in the PROSPECT-C Phase II Colorectal Cancer Clinical Trial. Cancer discov,
Sequential profiling of plasma cell-free DNA (cfDNA) holds immense promise for early detection of patient progression. However, how to exploit the predictive power of cfDNA as a liquid biopsy in the clinic remains unclear. RAS pathway aberrations can be tracked in cfDNA to monitor resistance to anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. In this prospective phase II clinical trial of single-agent cetuximab in RAS wild-type patients, we combine genomic profiling of serial cfDNA and matched sequential tissue biopsies with imaging and mathematical modeling of cancer evolution. We show that a significant proportion of patients defined as RAS wild-type based on diagnostic tissue analysis harbor aberrations in the RAS pathway in pretreatment cfDNA and, in fact, do not benefit from EGFR inhibition. We demonstrate that primary and acquired resistance to cetuximab are often of polyclonal nature, and these dynamics can be observed in tissue and plasma. Furthermore, evolutionary modeling combined with frequent serial sampling of cfDNA allows prediction of the expected time to treatment failure in individual patients. This study demonstrates how integrating frequently sampled longitudinal liquid biopsies with a mathematical framework of tumor evolution allows individualized quantitative forecasting of progression, providing novel opportunities for adaptive personalized therapies.Significance: Liquid biopsies capture spatial and temporal heterogeneity underpinning resistance to anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies in colorectal cancer. Dense serial sampling is needed to predict the time to treatment failure and generate a window of opportunity for intervention. Cancer Discov; 8(10); 1270-85. ©2018 AACR.See related commentary by Siravegna and Corcoran, p. 1213This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 1195..
Heide, T., Zapata, L., Williams, M.J., Werner, B., Caravagna, G., Barnes, C.P., Graham, T.A. & Sottoriva, A.
(2018). Reply to 'Neutral tumor evolution?'. Nat genet,
Werner, B., Williams, M.J., Barnes, C.P., Graham, T.A. & Sottoriva, A.
(2018). Reply to 'Currently available bulk sequencing data do not necessarily support a model of neutral tumor evolution'. Nat genet,
Williams, M.J., Werner, B., Heide, T., Barnes, C.P., Graham, T.A. & Sottoriva, A.
(2018). Reply to 'Revisiting signatures of neutral tumor evolution in the light of complexity of cancer genomic data'. Nat genet,
Vlachogiannis, G., Hedayat, S., Vatsiou, A., Jamin, Y., Fernández-Mateos, J., Khan, K., Lampis, A., Eason, K., Huntingford, I., Burke, R., et al.
(2018). Patient-derived organoids model treatment response of metastatic gastrointestinal cancers. Science,
Patient-derived organoids (PDOs) have recently emerged as robust preclinical models; however, their potential to predict clinical outcomes in patients has remained unclear. We report on a living biobank of PDOs from metastatic, heavily pretreated colorectal and gastroesophageal cancer patients recruited in phase 1/2 clinical trials. Phenotypic and genotypic profiling of PDOs showed a high degree of similarity to the original patient tumors. Molecular profiling of tumor organoids was matched to drug-screening results, suggesting that PDOs could complement existing approaches in defining cancer vulnerabilities and improving treatment responses. We compared responses to anticancer agents ex vivo in organoids and PDO-based orthotopic mouse tumor xenograft models with the responses of the patients in clinical trials. Our data suggest that PDOs can recapitulate patient responses in the clinic and could be implemented in personalized medicine programs..
Heindl, A., Khan, A.M., Rodrigues, D.N., Eason, K., Sadanandam, A., Orbegoso, C., Punta, M., Sottoriva, A., Lise, S., Banerjee, S., et al.
(2018). Microenvironmental niche divergence shapes BRCA1-dysregulated ovarian cancer morphological plasticity. Nat commun,
How tumor microenvironmental forces shape plasticity of cancer cell morphology is poorly understood. Here, we conduct automated histology image and spatial statistical analyses in 514 high grade serous ovarian samples to define cancer morphological diversification within the spatial context of the microenvironment. Tumor spatial zones, where cancer cell nuclei diversify in shape, are mapped in each tumor. Integration of this spatially explicit analysis with omics and clinical data reveals a relationship between morphological diversification and the dysregulation of DNA repair, loss of nuclear integrity, and increased disease mortality. Within the Immunoreactive subtype, spatial analysis further reveals significantly lower lymphocytic infiltration within diversified zones compared with other tumor zones, suggesting that even immune-hot tumors contain cells capable of immune escape. Our findings support a model whereby a subpopulation of morphologically plastic cancer cells with dysregulated DNA repair promotes ovarian cancer progression through positive selection by immune evasion..
Lote, H., Spiteri, I., Ermini, L., Vatsiou, A., Roy, A., McDonald, A., Maka, N., Balsitis, M., Bose, N., Simbolo, M., et al.
(2017). Carbon dating cancer: defining the chronology of metastatic progression in colorectal cancer. Ann oncol,
Background: Patients often ask oncologists how long a cancer has been present before causing symptoms or spreading to other organs. The evolutionary trajectory of cancers can be defined using phylogenetic approaches but lack of chronological references makes dating the exact onset of tumours very challenging. Patients and methods: Here, we describe the case of a colorectal cancer (CRC) patient presenting with synchronous lung metastasis and metachronous thyroid, chest wall and urinary tract metastases over the course of 5 years. The chest wall metastasis was caused by needle tract seeding, implying a known time of onset. Using whole genome sequencing data from primary and metastatic sites we inferred the complete chronology of the cancer by exploiting the time of needle tract seeding as an in vivo 'stopwatch'. This approach allowed us to follow the progression of the disease back in time, dating each ancestral node of the phylogenetic tree in the past history of the tumour. We used a Bayesian phylogenomic approach, which accounts for possible dynamic changes in mutational rate, to reconstruct the phylogenetic tree and effectively 'carbon date' the malignant progression. Results: The primary colon cancer emerged between 5 and 8 years before the clinical diagnosis. The primary tumour metastasized to the lung and the thyroid within a year from its onset. The thyroid lesion presented as a tumour-to-tumour deposit within a benign Hurthle adenoma. Despite rapid metastatic progression from the primary tumour, the patient showed an indolent disease course. Primary cancer and metastases were microsatellite stable and displayed low chromosomal instability. Neo-antigen analysis suggested minimal immunogenicity. Conclusion: Our data provide the first in vivo experimental evidence documenting the timing of metastatic progression in CRC and suggest that genomic instability might be more important than the metastatic potential of the primary cancer in dictating CRC fate..
Graham, T.A. & Sottoriva, A.
(2017). Measuring cancer evolution from the genome. J pathol,
The temporal dynamics of cancer evolution remain elusive, because it is impractical to longitudinally observe cancers unperturbed by treatment. Consequently, our knowledge of how cancers grow largely derives from inferences made from a single point in time - the endpoint in the cancer's evolution, when it is removed from the body and studied in the laboratory. Fortuitously however, the cancer genome, by virtue of ongoing mutations that uniquely mark clonal lineages within the tumour, provides a rich, yet surreptitious, record of cancer development. In this review, we describe how a cancer's genome can be analysed to reveal the temporal history of mutation and selection, and discuss why both selective and neutral evolution feature prominently in carcinogenesis. We argue that selection in cancer can only be properly studied once we have some understanding of what the absence of selection looks like. We review the data describing punctuated evolution in cancer, and reason that punctuated phenotype evolution is consistent with both gradual and punctuated genome evolution. We conclude that, to map and predict evolutionary trajectories during carcinogenesis, it is critical to better understand the relationship between genotype change and phenotype change. Copyright © 2016 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd..
Sottoriva, A., Barnes, C.P. & Graham, T.A.
(2017). Catch my drift? Making sense of genomic intra-tumour heterogeneity. Biochim biophys acta rev cancer,
The cancer genome is shaped by three components of the evolutionary process: mutation, selection and drift. While many studies have focused on the first two components, the role of drift in cancer evolution has received little attention. Drift occurs when all individuals in the population have the same likelihood of producing surviving offspring, and so by definition a drifting population is one that is evolving neutrally. Here we focus on how neutral evolution is manifested in the cancer genome. We discuss how neutral passenger mutations provide a magnifying glass that reveals the evolutionary dynamics underpinning cancer development, and outline how statistical inference can be used to quantify these dynamics from sequencing data. We argue that only after we understand the impact of neutral drift on the genome can we begin to make full sense of clonal selection. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Evolutionary principles - heterogeneity in cancer? Edited by Dr. Robert A. Gatenby..
Sun, R., Hu, Z., Sottoriva, A., Graham, T.A., Harpak, A., Ma, Z., Fischer, J.M., Shibata, D. & Curtis, C.
(2017). Between-region genetic divergence reflects the mode and tempo of tumor evolution. Nat genet,
Given the implications of tumor dynamics for precision medicine, there is a need to systematically characterize the mode of evolution across diverse solid tumor types. In particular, methods to infer the role of natural selection within established human tumors are lacking. By simulating spatial tumor growth under different evolutionary modes and examining patterns of between-region subclonal genetic divergence from multiregion sequencing (MRS) data, we demonstrate that it is feasible to distinguish tumors driven by strong positive subclonal selection from those evolving neutrally or under weak selection, as the latter fail to dramatically alter subclonal composition. We developed a classifier based on measures of between-region subclonal genetic divergence and projected patient data into model space, finding different modes of evolution both within and between solid tumor types. Our findings have broad implications for how human tumors progress, how they accumulate intratumoral heterogeneity, and ultimately how they may be more effectively treated..
Baker, A.-., Huang, W., Wang, X.-., Jansen, M., Ma, X.-., Kim, J., Anderson, C.M., Wu, X., Pan, L., Su, N., et al.
(2017). Robust RNA-based in situ mutation detection delineates colorectal cancer subclonal evolution. Nat commun,
Intra-tumor heterogeneity (ITH) is a major underlying cause of therapy resistance and disease recurrence, and is a read-out of tumor growth. Current genetic ITH analysis methods do not preserve spatial context and may not detect rare subclones. Here, we address these shortfalls by developing and validating BaseScope-a novel mutation-specific RNA in situ hybridization assay. We target common point mutations in the BRAF, KRAS and PIK3CA oncogenes in archival colorectal cancer samples to precisely map the spatial and morphological context of mutant subclones. Computational modeling suggests that subclones must arise sufficiently early, or carry a considerable fitness advantage, to form large or spatially disparate subclones. Examples of putative treatment-resistant cells isolated in small topographical areas are observed. The BaseScope assay represents a significant technical advance for in situ mutation detection that provides new insight into tumor evolution, and could have ramifications for selecting patients for treatment..
Maley, C.C., Aktipis, A., Graham, T.A., Sottoriva, A., Boddy, A.M., Janiszewska, M., Silva, A.S., Gerlinger, M., Yuan, Y., Pienta, K.J., et al.
(2017). Classifying the evolutionary and ecological features of neoplasms. Nat rev cancer,
Neoplasms change over time through a process of cell-level evolution, driven by genetic and epigenetic alterations. However, the ecology of the microenvironment of a neoplastic cell determines which changes provide adaptive benefits. There is widespread recognition of the importance of these evolutionary and ecological processes in cancer, but to date, no system has been proposed for drawing clinically relevant distinctions between how different tumours are evolving. On the basis of a consensus conference of experts in the fields of cancer evolution and cancer ecology, we propose a framework for classifying tumours that is based on four relevant components. These are the diversity of neoplastic cells (intratumoural heterogeneity) and changes over time in that diversity, which make up an evolutionary index (Evo-index), as well as the hazards to neoplastic cell survival and the resources available to neoplastic cells, which make up an ecological index (Eco-index). We review evidence demonstrating the importance of each of these factors and describe multiple methods that can be used to measure them. Development of this classification system holds promise for enabling clinicians to personalize optimal interventions based on the evolvability of the patient's tumour. The Evo- and Eco-indices provide a common lexicon for communicating about how neoplasms change in response to interventions, with potential implications for clinical trials, personalized medicine and basic cancer research..
Werner, B., Traulsen, A., Sottoriva, A. & Dingli, D.
(2017). Detecting truly clonal alterations from multi-region profiling of tumours. Sci rep,
Modern cancer therapies aim at targeting tumour-specific alterations, such as mutations or neo-antigens, and maximal treatment efficacy requires that targeted alterations are present in all tumour cells. Currently, treatment decisions are based on one or a few samples per tumour, creating uncertainty on whether alterations found in those samples are actually present in all tumour cells. The probability of classifying clonal versus sub-clonal alterations from multi-region profiling of tumours depends on the earliest phylogenetic branching event during tumour growth. By analysing 181 samples from 10 renal carcinoma and 11 colorectal cancers we demonstrate that the information gain from additional sampling falls onto a simple universal curve. We found that in colorectal cancers, 30% of alterations identified as clonal with one biopsy proved sub-clonal when 8 samples were considered. The probability to overestimate clonal alterations fell below 1% in 7/11 patients with 8 samples per tumour. In renal cell carcinoma, 8 samples reduced the list of clonal alterations by 40% with respect to a single biopsy. The probability to overestimate clonal alterations remained as high as 92% in 7/10 renal cancer patients. Furthermore, treatment was associated with more unbalanced tumour phylogenetic trees, suggesting the need of denser sampling of tumours at relapse..
Williams, M.J., Werner, B., Barnes, C.P., Graham, T.A. & Sottoriva, A.
(2017). Reply: Uncertainties in tumor allele frequencies limit power to infer evolutionary pressures. Nat genet,
Lipinski, K.A., Barber, L.J., Davies, M.N., Ashenden, M., Sottoriva, A. & Gerlinger, M.
(2016). Cancer Evolution and the Limits of Predictability in Precision Cancer Medicine. Trends cancer,
The ability to predict the future behavior of an individual cancer is crucial for precision cancer medicine. The discovery of extensive intratumor heterogeneity and ongoing clonal adaptation in human tumors substantiated the notion of cancer as an evolutionary process. Random events are inherent in evolution and tumor spatial structures hinder the efficacy of selection, which is the only deterministic evolutionary force. This review outlines how the interaction of these stochastic and deterministic processes, which have been extensively studied in evolutionary biology, limits cancer predictability and develops evolutionary strategies to improve predictions. Understanding and advancing the cancer predictability horizon is crucial to improve precision medicine outcomes..
Werner, B., Scott, J.G., Sottoriva, A., Anderson, A.R., Traulsen, A. & Altrock, P.M.
(2016). The Cancer Stem Cell Fraction in Hierarchically Organized Tumors Can Be Estimated Using Mathematical Modeling and Patient-Specific Treatment Trajectories. Cancer res,
Many tumors are hierarchically organized and driven by a subpopulation of tumor-initiating cells (TIC), or cancer stem cells. TICs are uniquely capable of recapitulating the tumor and are thought to be highly resistant to radio- and chemotherapy. Macroscopic patterns of tumor expansion before treatment and tumor regression during treatment are tied to the dynamics of TICs. Until now, the quantitative information about the fraction of TICs from macroscopic tumor burden trajectories could not be inferred. In this study, we generated a quantitative method based on a mathematical model that describes hierarchically organized tumor dynamics and patient-derived tumor burden information. The method identifies two characteristic equilibrium TIC regimes during expansion and regression. We show that tumor expansion and regression curves can be leveraged to infer estimates of the TIC fraction in individual patients at detection and after continued therapy. Furthermore, our method is parameter-free; it solely requires the knowledge of a patient's tumor burden over multiple time points to reveal microscopic properties of the malignancy. We demonstrate proof of concept in the case of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), wherein our model recapitulated the clinical history of the disease in two independent patient cohorts. On the basis of patient-specific treatment responses in CML, we predict that after one year of targeted treatment, the fraction of TICs increases 100-fold and continues to increase up to 1,000-fold after 5 years of treatment. Our novel framework may significantly influence the implementation of personalized treatment strategies and has the potential for rapid translation into the clinic. Cancer Res; 76(7); 1705-13. ©2016 AACR..
Williams, M.J., Werner, B., Barnes, C.P., Graham, T.A. & Sottoriva, A.
(2016). Identification of neutral tumor evolution across cancer types. Nat genet,
Despite extraordinary efforts to profile cancer genomes, interpreting the vast amount of genomic data in the light of cancer evolution remains challenging. Here we demonstrate that neutral tumor evolution results in a power-law distribution of the mutant allele frequencies reported by next-generation sequencing of tumor bulk samples. We find that the neutral power law fits with high precision 323 of 904 cancers from 14 types and from different cohorts. In malignancies identified as evolving neutrally, all clonal selection seemingly occurred before the onset of cancer growth and not in later-arising subclones, resulting in numerous passenger mutations that are responsible for intratumoral heterogeneity. Reanalyzing cancer sequencing data within the neutral framework allowed the measurement, in each patient, of both the in vivo mutation rate and the order and timing of mutations. This result provides a new way to interpret existing cancer genomic data and to discriminate between functional and non-functional intratumoral heterogeneity. .
Williams, M.J., Werner, B., Graham, T.A. & Sottoriva, A.
(2016). Functional versus non-functional intratumor heterogeneity in cancer. Mol cell oncol,
Next-generation sequencing data from human cancers are often difficult to interpret within the context of tumor evolution. We developed a mathematical model describing the accumulation of mutations under neutral evolutionary dynamics and showed that 323/904 cancers (∼30%) from multiple types were consistent with the neutral model of tumor evolution. .
Eskilsson, E., Rosland, G.V., Talasila, K.M., Knappskog, S., Keunen, O., Sottoriva, A., Foerster, S., Solecki, G., Taxt, T., Jirik, R., et al.
(2016). EGFRvIII mutations can emerge as late and heterogenous events in glioblastoma development and promote angiogenesis through Src activation. Neuro oncol,
BACKGROUND: Amplification of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and its mutant EGFRvIII are among the most common genetic alterations in glioblastoma (GBM), the most frequent and most aggressive primary brain tumor. METHODS: In the present work, we analyzed the clonal evolution of these major EGFR aberrations in a small cohort of GBM patients using a unique surgical multisampling technique. Furthermore, we overexpressed both receptors separately and together in 2 patient-derived GBM stem cell lines (GSCs) to analyze their functions in vivo in orthotopic xenograft models. RESULTS: In human GBM biopsies, we identified EGFR amplification as an early event because EGFRvIII mutations emerge from intratumoral heterogeneity later in tumor development. To investigate the biological relevance of this distinct developmental pattern, we established experimental model systems. In these models, EGFR+ tumor cells showed activation of classical downstream signaling pathways upon EGF stimulation and displayed enhanced invasive growth without evidence of angiogenesis in vivo. In contrast, EGFRvIII+ tumors were driven by activation of the prototypical Src family kinase c-Src that promoted VEGF secretion leading to angiogenic tumor growth. CONCLUSIONS: The presented work shows that sequential EGFR amplification and EGFRvIII mutations might represent concerted evolutionary events that drive the aggressive nature of GBM by promoting invasion and angiogenesis via distinct signaling pathways. In particular, c-SRC may be an attractive therapeutic target for tumors harboring EGFRvIII as we identified this protein specifically mediating angiogenic tumor growth downstream of EGFRvIII..
Piccirillo, S.G., Spiteri, I., Sottoriva, A., Touloumis, A., Ber, S., Price, S.J., Heywood, R., Francis, N.-., Howarth, K.D., Collins, V.P., et al.
(2015). Contributions to drug resistance in glioblastoma derived from malignant cells in the sub-ependymal zone. Cancer res,
Glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive adult brain tumor, is characterized by extreme phenotypic diversity and treatment failure. Through fluorescence-guided resection, we identified fluorescent tissue in the sub-ependymal zone (SEZ) of patients with glioblastoma. Histologic analysis and genomic characterization revealed that the SEZ harbors malignant cells with tumor-initiating capacity, analogous to cells isolated from the fluorescent tumor mass (T). We observed resistance to supramaximal chemotherapy doses along with differential patterns of drug response between T and SEZ in the same tumor. Our results reveal novel insights into glioblastoma growth dynamics, with implications for understanding and limiting treatment resistance..
Gubernator, M., Slater, S.C., Spencer, H.L., Spiteri, I., Sottoriva, A., Riu, F., Rowlinson, J., Avolio, E., Katare, R., Mangialardi, G., et al.
(2015). Epigenetic profile of human adventitial progenitor cells correlates with therapeutic outcomes in a mouse model of limb ischemia. Arterioscler thromb vasc biol,
OBJECTIVE: We investigated the association between the functional, epigenetic, and expressional profile of human adventitial progenitor cells (APCs) and therapeutic activity in a model of limb ischemia. APPROACH AND RESULTS: Antigenic and functional features were analyzed throughout passaging in 15 saphenous vein (SV)-derived APC lines, of which 10 from SV leftovers of coronary artery bypass graft surgery and 5 from varicose SV removal. Moreover, 5 SV-APC lines were transplanted (8×10(5) cells, IM) in mice with limb ischemia. Blood flow and capillary and arteriole density were correlated with functional characteristics and DNA methylation/expressional markers of transplanted cells. We report successful expansion of tested lines, which reached the therapeutic target of 30 to 50 million cells in ≈10 weeks. Typical antigenic profile, viability, and migratory and proangiogenic activities were conserved through passaging, with low levels of replicative senescence. In vivo, SV-APC transplantation improved blood flow recovery and revascularization of ischemic limbs. Whole genome screening showed an association between DNA methylation at the promoter or gene body level and microvascular density and to a lesser extent with blood flow recovery. Expressional studies highlighted the implication of an angiogenic network centered on the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor as a predictor of microvascular outcomes. FLT-1 gene silencing in SV-APCs remarkably reduced their ability to form tubes in vitro and support tube formation by human umbilical vein endothelial cells, thus confirming the importance of this signaling in SV-APC angiogenic function. CONCLUSIONS: DNA methylation landscape illustrates different therapeutic activities of human APCs. Epigenetic screening may help identify determinants of therapeutic vasculogenesis in ischemic disease..
Sottoriva, A., Kang, H., Ma, Z., Graham, T.A., Salomon, M.P., Zhao, J., Marjoram, P., Siegmund, K., Press, M.F., Shibata, D., et al.
(2015). A Big Bang model of human colorectal tumor growth. Nat genet,
What happens in early, still undetectable human malignancies is unknown because direct observations are impractical. Here we present and validate a 'Big Bang' model, whereby tumors grow predominantly as a single expansion producing numerous intermixed subclones that are not subject to stringent selection and where both public (clonal) and most detectable private (subclonal) alterations arise early during growth. Genomic profiling of 349 individual glands from 15 colorectal tumors showed an absence of selective sweeps, uniformly high intratumoral heterogeneity (ITH) and subclone mixing in distant regions, as postulated by our model. We also verified the prediction that most detectable ITH originates from early private alterations and not from later clonal expansions, thus exposing the profile of the primordial tumor. Moreover, some tumors appear 'born to be bad', with subclone mixing indicative of early malignant potential. This new model provides a quantitative framework to interpret tumor growth dynamics and the origins of ITH, with important clinical implications. .
Piccirillo, S.G., Sottoriva, A. & Watts, C.
(2015). The role of sub-ventricular zone in gliomagenesis. Aging (albany ny),
Kang, H., Salomon, M.P., Sottoriva, A., Zhao, J., Toy, M., Press, M.F., Curtis, C., Marjoram, P., Siegmund, K. & Shibata, D., et al.
(2015). Many private mutations originate from the first few divisions of a human colorectal adenoma. J pathol,
Intratumoural mutational heterogeneity (ITH) or the presence of different private mutations in different parts of the same tumour is commonly observed in human tumours. The mechanisms generating such ITH are uncertain. Here we find that ITH can be remarkably well structured by measuring point mutations, chromosome copy numbers, and DNA passenger methylation from opposite sides and individual glands of a 6 cm human colorectal adenoma. ITH was present between tumour sides and individual glands, but the private mutations were side-specific and subdivided the adenoma into two major subclones. Furthermore, ITH disappeared within individual glands because the glands were clonal populations composed of cells with identical mutant genotypes. Despite mutation clonality, the glands were relatively old, diverse populations when their individual cells were compared for passenger methylation and by FISH. These observations can be organized into an expanding star-like ancestral tree with co-clonal expansion, where many private mutations and multiple related clones arise during the first few divisions. As a consequence, most detectable mutational ITH in the final tumour originates from the first few divisions. Much of the early history of a tumour, especially the first few divisions, may be embedded within the detectable ITH of tumour genomes..
Ellis, H.P., Greenslade, M., Powell, B., Spiteri, I., Sottoriva, A. & Kurian, K.M.
(2015). Current Challenges in Glioblastoma: Intratumour Heterogeneity, Residual Disease, and Models to Predict Disease Recurrence. Front oncol,
Glioblastoma (GB) is the most common primary malignant brain tumor, and despite the availability of chemotherapy and radiotherapy to combat the disease, overall survival remains low with a high incidence of tumor recurrence. Technological advances are continually improving our understanding of the disease, and in particular, our knowledge of clonal evolution, intratumor heterogeneity, and possible reservoirs of residual disease. These may inform how we approach clinical treatment and recurrence in GB. Mathematical modeling (including neural networks) and strategies such as multiple sampling during tumor resection and genetic analysis of circulating cancer cells, may be of great future benefit to help predict the nature of residual disease and resistance to standard and molecular therapies in GB. .
Sottoriva, A., Spiteri, I., Shibata, D., Curtis, C. & Tavaré, S.
(2013). Single-molecule genomic data delineate patient-specific tumor profiles and cancer stem cell organization. Cancer res,
Substantial evidence supports the concept that cancers are organized in a cellular hierarchy with cancer stem cells (CSC) at the apex. To date, the primary evidence for CSCs derives from transplantation assays, which have known limitations. In particular, they are unable to report on the fate of cells within the original human tumor. Because of the difficulty in measuring tumor characteristics in patients, cellular organization and other aspects of cancer dynamics have not been quantified directly, although they likely play a fundamental role in tumor progression and therapy response. As such, new approaches to study CSCs in patient-derived tumor specimens are needed. In this study, we exploited ultradeep single-molecule genomic data derived from multiple microdissected colorectal cancer glands per tumor, along with a novel quantitative approach to measure tumor characteristics, define patient-specific tumor profiles, and infer tumor ancestral trees. We show that each cancer is unique in terms of its cellular organization, molecular heterogeneity, time from malignant transformation, and rate of mutation and apoptosis. Importantly, we estimate CSC fractions between 0.5% and 4%, indicative of a hierarchical organization responsible for long-lived CSC lineages, with variable rates of symmetric cell division. We also observed extensive molecular heterogeneity, both between and within individual cancer glands, suggesting a complex hierarchy of mitotic clones. Our framework enables the measurement of clinically relevant patient-specific characteristics in vivo, providing insight into the cellular organization and dynamics of tumor growth, with implications for personalized patient care..
Sottoriva, A., Spiteri, I., Piccirillo, S.G., Touloumis, A., Collins, V.P., Marioni, J.C., Curtis, C., Watts, C. & Tavaré, S.
(2013). Intratumor heterogeneity in human glioblastoma reflects cancer evolutionary dynamics. Proc natl acad sci u s a,
Glioblastoma (GB) is the most common and aggressive primary brain malignancy, with poor prognosis and a lack of effective therapeutic options. Accumulating evidence suggests that intratumor heterogeneity likely is the key to understanding treatment failure. However, the extent of intratumor heterogeneity as a result of tumor evolution is still poorly understood. To address this, we developed a unique surgical multisampling scheme to collect spatially distinct tumor fragments from 11 GB patients. We present an integrated genomic analysis that uncovers extensive intratumor heterogeneity, with most patients displaying different GB subtypes within the same tumor. Moreover, we reconstructed the phylogeny of the fragments for each patient, identifying copy number alterations in EGFR and CDKN2A/B/p14ARF as early events, and aberrations in PDGFRA and PTEN as later events during cancer progression. We also characterized the clonal organization of each tumor fragment at the single-molecule level, detecting multiple coexisting cell lineages. Our results reveal the genome-wide architecture of intratumor variability in GB across multiple spatial scales and patient-specific patterns of cancer evolution, with consequences for treatment design..
Dvinge, H., Git, A., Gräf, S., Salmon-Divon, M., Curtis, C., Sottoriva, A., Zhao, Y., Hirst, M., Armisen, J., Miska, E.A., et al.
(2013). The shaping and functional consequences of the microRNA landscape in breast cancer. Nature,
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) show differential expression across breast cancer subtypes, and have both oncogenic and tumour-suppressive roles. Here we report the miRNA expression profiles of 1,302 breast tumours with matching detailed clinical annotation, long-term follow-up and genomic and messenger RNA expression data. This provides a comprehensive overview of the quantity, distribution and variation of the miRNA population and provides information on the extent to which genomic, transcriptional and post-transcriptional events contribute to miRNA expression architecture, suggesting an important role for post-transcriptional regulation. The key clinical parameters and cellular pathways related to the miRNA landscape are characterized, revealing context-dependent interactions, for example with regards to cell adhesion and Wnt signalling. Notably, only prognostic miRNA signatures derived from breast tumours devoid of somatic copy-number aberrations (CNA-devoid) are consistently prognostic across several other subtypes and can be validated in external cohorts. We then use a data-driven approach to seek the effects of miRNAs associated with differential co-expression of mRNAs, and find that miRNAs act as modulators of mRNA-mRNA interactions rather than as on-off molecular switches. We demonstrate such an important modulatory role for miRNAs in the biology of CNA-devoid breast cancers, a common subtype in which the immune response is prominent. These findings represent a new framework for studying the biology of miRNAs in human breast cancer..
Vermeulen, L., Morrissey, E., van der Heijden, M., Nicholson, A.M., Sottoriva, A., Buczacki, S., Kemp, R., Tavaré, S. & Winton, D.J.
(2013). Defining stem cell dynamics in models of intestinal tumor initiation. Science,
Cancer is a disease in which cells accumulate genetic aberrations that are believed to confer a clonal advantage over cells in the surrounding tissue. However, the quantitative benefit of frequently occurring mutations during tumor development remains unknown. We quantified the competitive advantage of Apc loss, Kras activation, and P53 mutations in the mouse intestine. Our findings indicate that the fate conferred by these mutations is not deterministic, and many mutated stem cells are replaced by wild-type stem cells after biased, but still stochastic events. Furthermore, P53 mutations display a condition-dependent advantage, and especially in colitis-affected intestines, clones harboring mutations in this gene are favored. Our work confirms the previously theoretical notion that the tissue architecture of the intestine suppresses the accumulation of mutated lineages. .
Ageron, M., Aguilar, J.A., Al Samarai, I., Albert, A., Ameli, F., André, M., Anghinolfi, M., Anton, G., Anvar, S., Ardid, M., et al.
(2011). ANTARES: The first undersea neutrino telescope. Nuclear instruments and methods in physics research section a: accelerators, spectrometers, detectors and associated equipment,
The ANTARES Neutrino Telescope was completed in May 2008 and is the first operational Neutrino Telescope in the Mediterranean Sea. The main purpose of the detector is to perform neutrino astronomy and the apparatus also offers facilities for marine and Earth sciences. This paper describes the design, the construction and the installation of the telescope in the deep sea, offshore from Toulon in France. An illustration of the detector performance is given..
Sottoriva, A., Vermeulen, L. & Tavaré, S.
(2011). Modeling Evolutionary Dynamics of Epigenetic Mutations in Hierarchically Organized Tumors. Plos computational biology,
Sottoriva, A., Verhoeff, J.J., Borovski, T., McWeeney, S.K., Naumov, L., Medema, J.P., Sloot, P.M. & Vermeulen, L.
(2010). Cancer stem cell tumor model reveals invasive morphology and increased phenotypical heterogeneity. Cancer res,
The recently developed concept of cancer stem cells (CSC) sheds new light on various aspects of tumor growth and progression. Here, we present a mathematical model of malignancies to investigate how a hierarchical organized cancer cell population affects the fundamental properties of solid malignancies. We establish that tumors modeled in a CSC context more faithfully resemble human malignancies and show invasive behavior, whereas tumors without a CSC hierarchy do not. These findings are corroborated by in vitro studies. In addition, we provide evidence that the CSC model is accompanied by highly altered evolutionary dynamics compared with the ones predicted to exist in a stochastic, nonhierarchical tumor model. Our main findings indicate that the CSC model allows for significantly higher tumor heterogeneity, which may affect therapy resistance. Moreover, we show that therapy which fails to target the CSC population is not only unsuccessful in curing the patient, but also promotes malignant features in the recurring tumor. These include rapid expansion, increased invasion, and enhanced heterogeneity..
Sottoriva, A., Sloot, P.M., Medema, J.P. & Vermeulen, L.
(2010). Exploring cancer stem cell niche directed tumor growth. Cell cycle,
The finding that only a sub-fraction of tumor cells, so called Cancer Stem Cells (CSC), is endowed with the capacity to initiate new tumors has important consequences for fundamental as well as clinical cancer research. Previously we established by computational modeling techniques that CSC driven tumor growth instigates infiltrative behavior, and perhaps most interesting, stimulates tumor cell heterogeneity. An important question that remains is to what extend CSC functions are intrinsically regulated or whether this capacity is orchestrated by the microenvironment, i.e. a putative CSC niche. Here we investigate how extrinsic regulation of CSC properties affects the characteristics of malignancies. We find that highly invasive growth in tumors dependent on a small subset of cells is not restricted to CSC-driven tumors, but is also observed in tumors where the CSC capacity of tumor cells is completely defined by the microenvironment. Importantly, also the high level of heterogeneity that was observed for CSC-driven tumors is preserved and partially even increased in malignancies with a microenvironmentally orchestrated CSC population. This indicates that invasive growth and high heterogeneity are fundamental properties of tumors fueled by a small population of tumor cells..
Sottoriva, A. & Tavaré, S.
(2010). Integrating approximate Bayesian computation with complex agent-based models for cancer research. Compstat 2010 - proceedings in computational statistics, eds. saporta g & lechevallier y. springer, physica verlag,
Portegies Zwart, S., McMillan, S., Harfst, S., Groen, D., Fujii, M., Nualláin, B.Ó., Glebbeek, E., Heggie, D., Lombardi, J., Hut, P., et al.
(2009). A multiphysics and multiscale software environment for modeling astrophysical systems. New astronomy,
We present MUSE, a software framework for combining existing computational tools for different astrophysical domains into a single multiphysics, multiscale application. MUSE facilitates the coupling of existing codes written in different languages by providing inter-language tools and by specifying an interface between each module and the framework that represents a balance between generality and computational efficiency. This approach allows scientists to use combinations of codes to solve highly coupled problems without the need to write new codes for other domains or significantly alter their existing codes. MUSE currently incorporates the domains of stellar dynamics, stellar evolution and stellar hydrodynamics for studying generalized stellar systems. We have now reached a “Noah’s Ark” milestone, with (at least) two available numerical solvers for each domain. MUSE can treat multiscale and multiphysics systems in which the time- and size-scales are well separated, like simulating the evolution of planetary systems, small stellar associations, dense stellar clusters, galaxies and galactic nuclei. In this paper we describe three examples calculated using MUSE: the merger of two galaxies, the merger of two evolving stars, and a hybrid N-body simulation. In addition, we demonstrate an implementation of MUSE on a distributed computer which may also include special-purpose hardware, such as GRAPEs or GPUs, to accelerate computations. The current MUSE code base is publicly available as open source at http://muse.li..
Barry, P., Vatsiou, A., Spiteri Sagastume, I., Nichol, D., Cresswell, G., Acar, A., Trahearn, N., Hrebien, S., Garcia-Murillas, I., Chkhaidze, K., et al.
The spatio-temporal evolution of lymph node spread in early breast cancer. Clinical cancer research,