Metastatic Tumors in Individual Patients Share Driver Mutations

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – A new genomic study spanning several cancer types has uncovered a set of common driver mutations within different metastatic tumors from each patient, despite broader genomic diversity in the tumors.

“[W]e observed a mix of overlapping and differing driver mutations,” first author Johannes Reiter, an early cancer detection and evolutionary dynamics researcher affiliated with Stanford and Harvard Universities, said in a statement. “But through computational analyses, we inferred that the driver mutations that were most likely to contribute to cancer development were shared among all metastases in each patient.”

Reiter and his colleagues from Stanford, Harvard, and elsewhere turned to cancer phylogenetic analyses to retrace mutation events in primary tumor and untreated metastatic tumor samples from 20 individuals with skin, breast, colorectal, endometrial, gastric, lung, pancreatic, or prostate cancers, distinguishing between so-called MetTrunk drivers shared between metastases and MetBranch mutations found in just a subset.

Based on whole-genome- or exome sequencing data for more than three-dozen samples from primary tumors and 76 of the metastatic tumor samples, the team determined that most functionally relevant driver mutations correspond from one metastatic tumor to the next in a given patient — information that is expected to be relevant

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