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..
Crusz, S.M., Tang, Y.Z., Sarker, S.-., Prevoo, W., Kiyani, I., Beltran, L., Peters, J., Sahdev, A., Bex, A., Powles, T., et al.
(2016). Heterogeneous response and progression patterns reveal phenotypic heterogeneity of tyrosine kinase inhibitor response in metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Bmc med,
BACKGROUND: Molecular intratumour heterogeneity (ITH) is common in clear cell renal carcinomas (ccRCCs). However, it remains unknown whether this is mirrored by heterogeneity of drug responses between metastases in the same patient. METHODS: We performed a retrospective central radiological analysis of patients with treatment-naïve metastatic ccRCC receiving anti-angiogenic tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) (sunitinib or pazopanib) within three similar phase II trials. Treatment was briefly interrupted for cytoreductive nephrectomy. All patients had multiple metastases that were measured by regular computed tomography scans from baseline until Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumours (RECIST)-defined progression. Each metastasis was categorised as responding, stable or progressing. Patients were classed as having a homogeneous response if all lesions were of the same response category and a heterogeneous response if they differed. RESULTS: A total of 115 metastases were assessed longitudinally in 27 patients. Of these patients, 56% had a heterogeneous response. Progression occurred through the appearance of new metastases in 67%, through progression of existing lesions in 11% and by both in 22% of patients. Despite RECIST-defined progression, 57% of existing metastases remained controlled. The sum of controlled lesions was greater than that of uncontrolled lesions in 47% of patients who progressed only with measurable new lesions. CONCLUSIONS: We identified frequent ITH of anti-angiogenic TKI responses, with subsets of metastases responding and progressing within individual patients. This mirrors molecular ITH and may indicate that anti-angiogenic drug resistance is confined to subclones and not encoded on the trunk of the tumours' phylogenetic trees. This is clinically important, as patients with small-volume progression may benefit from drug continuation. Predominant progression with new rather than in existing metastases supports a change in disease biology through anti-angiogenics. The results highlight limitations of RECIST in heterogeneous cancers, which may influence clinical trial data validity. This analysis requires prospective confirmation. TRIAL REGISTRATION: European Clinical Trials Database(EudraCT): 2009-016675-29 , registered 17 March 2010; EudraCT: 2006-004511-21 , registered 09 March 2007; EudraCT: 2006-006491-38 , registered 22 December 2006..
Gerlinger, M., Catto, J.W., Orntoft, T.F., Real, F.X., Zwarthoff, E.C. & Swanton, C.
(2015). Intratumour heterogeneity in urologic cancers: from molecular evidence to clinical implications. Eur urol,
CONTEXT: Intratumour heterogeneity (ITH) can impair the precise molecular analysis of tumours and may contribute to difficulties encountered in cancer biomarker qualification and treatment personalisation. OBJECTIVE: This review summarises the evidence for genetic ITH in renal, bladder, and prostate carcinomas and potential strategies to address the clinical and translational research challenges arising from ITH. EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: Publications that assessed ITH in the relevant urologic cancers were identified in a literature review. EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: ITH with functionally distinct tumour subclones has been identified in all three tumour types. Heterogeneity of actionable genetic changes and of prognostic biomarkers between different tumour regions in the same patient suggests limitations of single biopsy-based molecular analyses for precision medicine approaches. Evolutionary constraints may differ between patients and may allow the prediction of specific evolutionary trajectories. CONCLUSIONS: Assessment of multiple tumour regions for precision medicine purposes, monitoring of subclonal dynamics over time, and the preferential targeting of genetic alterations located on the trunk of the phylogenetic tree of individual cancers may accelerate the development of personalised medicine strategies and improve our understanding of treatment failure. PATIENT SUMMARY: Genetic alterations can be heterogeneous within urologic tumours, complicating their use as biomarkers for treatment personalisation. We present novel strategies to address these challenges..
Gerlinger, M., Horswell, S., Larkin, J., Rowan, A.J., Salm, M.P., Varela, I., Fisher, R., McGranahan, N., Matthews, N., Santos, C.R., et al.
(2014). Genomic architecture and evolution of clear cell renal cell carcinomas defined by multiregion sequencing. Nat genet,
Clear cell renal carcinomas (ccRCCs) can display intratumor heterogeneity (ITH). We applied multiregion exome sequencing (M-seq) to resolve the genetic architecture and evolutionary histories of ten ccRCCs. Ultra-deep sequencing identified ITH in all cases. We found that 73-75% of identified ccRCC driver aberrations were subclonal, confounding estimates of driver mutation prevalence. ITH increased with the number of biopsies analyzed, without evidence of saturation in most tumors. Chromosome 3p loss and VHL aberrations were the only ubiquitous events. The proportion of C>T transitions at CpG sites increased during tumor progression. M-seq permits the temporal resolution of ccRCC evolution and refines mutational signatures occurring during tumor development. .
Gulati, S., Martinez, P., Joshi, T., Birkbak, N.J., Santos, C.R., Rowan, A.J., Pickering, L., Gore, M., Larkin, J., Szallasi, Z., et al.
(2014). Systematic evaluation of the prognostic impact and intratumour heterogeneity of clear cell renal cell carcinoma biomarkers. Eur urol,
BACKGROUND: Candidate biomarkers have been identified for clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) patients, but most have not been validated. OBJECTIVE: To validate published ccRCC prognostic biomarkers in an independent patient cohort and to assess intratumour heterogeneity (ITH) of the most promising markers to guide biomarker optimisation. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Cancer-specific survival (CSS) for each of 28 identified genetic or transcriptomic biomarkers was assessed in 350 ccRCC patients. ITH was interrogated in a multiregion biopsy data set of 10 ccRCCs. OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS AND STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: Biomarker association with CSS was analysed by univariate and multivariate analyses. RESULTS AND LIMITATIONS: A total of 17 of 28 biomarkers (TP53 mutations; amplifications of chromosomes 8q, 12, 20q11.21q13.32, and 20 and deletions of 4p, 9p, 9p21.3p24.1, and 22q; low EDNRB and TSPAN7 expression and six gene expression signatures) were validated as predictors of poor CSS in univariate analysis. Tumour stage and the ccB expression signature were the only independent predictors in multivariate analysis. ITH of the ccB signature was identified in 8 of 10 tumours. Several genetic alterations that were significant in univariate analysis were enriched, and chromosomal instability indices were increased in samples expressing the ccB signature. The study may be underpowered to validate low-prevalence biomarkers. CONCLUSIONS: The ccB signature was the only independent prognostic biomarker. Enrichment of multiple poor prognosis genetic alterations in ccB samples indicated that several events may be required to establish this aggressive phenotype, catalysed in some tumours by chromosomal instability. Multiregion assessment may improve the precision of this biomarker. PATIENT SUMMARY: We evaluated the ability of published biomarkers to predict the survival of patients with clear cell kidney cancer in an independent patient cohort. Only one molecular test adds prognostic information to routine clinical assessments. This marker showed good and poor prognosis results within most individual cancers. Future biomarkers need to consider variation within tumours to improve accuracy..
Gerlinger, M., McGranahan, N., Dewhurst, S.M., Burrell, R.A., Tomlinson, I. & Swanton, C.
(2014). Cancer: Evolution within a Lifetime. Annual review of genetics,
Subclonal cancer populations change spatially and temporally during the disease course. Studies are revealing branched evolutionary cancer growth with low-frequency driver events present in subpopulations of cells, providing escape mechanisms for targeted therapeutic approaches. Despite such complexity, evidence is emerging for parallel evolution of subclones, mediated through distinct somatic events converging on the same gene, signal transduction pathway, or protein complex in different subclones within the same tumor. tumors may follow both gradualist paths (microevolution) and major shifts in evolutionary trajectories (macroevolution). Although macroevolution has been subject to considerable controversy in post-Darwinian evolutionary theory, here we review evidence that such nongradual, saltatory leaps, driven by chromosomal rearrangements or genome doubling, may be particularly relevant to tumor evolution. Adapting cancer care to the challenges imposed by tumor micro- and macroevolution and developing deeper insight into parallel evolutionary events may prove central to improving outcome and reducing drug development costs..
Barber, L.J., Davies, M.N. & Gerlinger, M.
(2014). Dissecting cancer evolution at the macro-heterogeneity and micro-heterogeneity scale. Current opinion in genetics and development,
Intratumour heterogeneity complicates biomarker discovery and treatment personalization, and pervasive cancer evolution is a key mechanism leading to therapy failure and patient death. Thus, understanding subclonal heterogeneity architectures and cancer evolution processes is critical for the development of effective therapeutic approaches which can control or thwart cancer evolutionary plasticity. Current insights into heterogeneity are mainly limited to the macroheterogeneity level, established by cancer subclones that have undergone significant clonal expansion. Novel single cell sequencing and blood-based subclonal tracking technologies are enabling detailed insights into microheterogeneity and the dynamics of clonal evolution. We assess how this starts to delineate the rules governing cancer evolution and novel angles for more effective therapeutic intervention..
Gerlinger, M., Quezada, S.A., Peggs, K.S., Furness, A.J., Fisher, R., Marafioti, T., Shende, V.H., McGranahan, N., Rowan, A.J., Hazell, S., et al.
(2013). Ultra-deep T cell receptor sequencing reveals the complexity and intratumour heterogeneity of T cell clones in renal cell carcinomas. J pathol,
The recognition of cancer cells by T cells can impact upon prognosis and be exploited for immunotherapeutic approaches. This recognition depends on the specific interaction between antigens displayed on the surface of cancer cells and the T cell receptor (TCR), which is generated by somatic rearrangements of TCR α- and β-chains (TCRb). Our aim was to assess whether ultra-deep sequencing of the rearranged TCRb in DNA extracted from unfractionated clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) samples can provide insights into the clonality and heterogeneity of intratumoural T cells in ccRCCs, a tumour type that can display extensive genetic intratumour heterogeneity (ITH). For this purpose, DNA was extracted from two to four tumour regions from each of four primary ccRCCs and was analysed by ultra-deep TCR sequencing. In parallel, tumour infiltration by CD4, CD8 and Foxp3 regulatory T cells was evaluated by immunohistochemistry and correlated with TCR-sequencing data. A polyclonal T cell repertoire with 367-16 289 (median 2394) unique TCRb sequences was identified per tumour region. The frequencies of the 100 most abundant T cell clones/tumour were poorly correlated between most regions (Pearson correlation coefficient, -0.218 to 0.465). 3-93% of these T cell clones were not detectable across all regions. Thus, the clonal composition of T cell populations can be heterogeneous across different regions of the same ccRCC. T cell ITH was higher in tumours pretreated with an mTOR inhibitor, which could suggest that therapy can influence adaptive tumour immunity. These data show that ultra-deep TCR-sequencing technology can be applied directly to DNA extracted from unfractionated tumour samples, allowing novel insights into the clonality of T cell populations in cancers. These were polyclonal and displayed ITH in ccRCC. TCRb sequencing may shed light on mechanisms of cancer immunity and the efficacy of immunotherapy approaches..
Gerlinger, M., Rowan, A.J., Horswell, S., Larkin, J., Endesfelder, D., Gronroos, E., Martinez, P., Matthews, N., Stewart, A., Tarpey, P., et al.
(2012). Intratumor Heterogeneity and Branched Evolution Revealed by Multiregion Sequencing. New england journal of medicine,