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Discovery and features of an alkylating signature in colorectal cancer

Several risk factors have been established for colorectal cancer, yet their direct mutagenic effects in patients' tumors remain to be elucidated. Here, we leveraged whole-exome sequencing data from 900 colorectal cancer cases that had occurred in three U.S.-wide prospective studies with extensive dietary and lifestyle information. We found an alkylating signature that was previously undescribed in colorectal cancer and then showed the existence of a similar mutational process in normal colonic crypts. This alkylating signature is associated with high intakes of processed and unprocessed red meat prior to diagnosis. In addition, this signature was more abundant in the distal colorectum, predicted to target cancer driver mutations KRAS p.G12D, KRAS p.G13D, and PIK3CA p.E545K, and associated with poor survival. Together, these results link for the first time a colorectal mutational signature to a component of diet and further implicate the role of red meat in colorectal cancer initiation and progression.

Significance: Colorectal cancer has several lifestyle risk factors, but the underlying mutations for most have not been observed directly in tumors. Analysis of 900 colorectal cancers with whole-exome sequencing and epidemiologic annotations revealed an alkylating mutational signature that was associated with red meat consumption and distal tumor location, as well as predicted to target KRAS p.G12D/p.G13D

Team OPTIMISTICC
Journal Cancer Discovery
Authors Carino Gurjao et al
DATE 01 October 2021
The adaptive immune system is a major driver of selection for tumor suppressor gene inactivation

During tumorigenesis, tumors must evolve to evade the immune system and do so by disrupting the genes involved in antigen processing and presentation or up-regulating inhibitory immune checkpoint genes. We performed in vivo CRISPR screens in syngeneic mouse tumor models to examine requirements for tumorigenesis both with and without adaptive immune selective pressure. In each tumor type tested, we found a marked enrichment for the loss of tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) in the presence of an adaptive immune system relative to immunocompromised mice. Nearly one-third of TSGs showed preferential enrichment, often in a cancer- and tissue-specific manner. These results suggest that clonal selection of recurrent mutations found in cancer is driven largely by the tumor’s requirement to avoid the adaptive immune system.

Team SPECIFICANCER
Journal Science
Authors Timothy D. Martin et al
DATE 17 September 2021
Immune cell profiles in the tumor microenvironment of early-onset, intermediate-onset, and later-onset colorectal cancer

Despite heightened interest in early-onset colorectal cancer (CRC) diagnosed before age 50, little is known on immune cell profiles of early-onset CRC. It also remains to be studied whether CRCs diagnosed at or shortly after age 50 are similar to early-onset CRC. We therefore hypothesized that immune cell infiltrates in CRC tissue might show differential heterogeneity patterns between three age groups (< 50 “early onset,” 50–54 “intermediate onset,”  ≥ 55 “later onset”).

Team OPTIMISTICC
Journal Springer Nature
Authors Tomotaka Ugai et al
DATE 16 September 2021
Relationship between Fusobacterium nucleatum and antitumor immunity in colorectal cancer liver metastasis

Fusobacterium nucleatum has been detected in 8%-13% of human colorectal cancer, and shown to inhibit immune responses against primary colorectal tumors in animal models. Thus, we hypothesized that the presence of Fnucleatum might be associated with reduced T cell density in colorectal cancer liver metastases (CRLM). We quantified Fnucleatum DNA in 181 CRLM specimens using quantitative PCR assay. The densities of CD8+ T cells, CD33+ cells (marker for myeloid-derived suppressor cells [MDSCs]), and CD163+ cells (marker for tumor-associated macrophages [TAMs]) in CRLM tissue were determined by immunohistochemical staining. Fusobacterium nucleatum was detected in eight (4.4%) of 181 CRLM specimens. Compared with Fnucleatum-negative CRLM, Fnucleatum-positive CRLM showed significantly lower density of CD8+ T cells (P = .033) and higher density of MDSCs (P = .001). The association of F. nucleatum with the density of TAMs was not statistically significant (P = .70). The presence of Fnucleatum is associated with a lower density of CD8+ T cells and a higher density of MDSCs in CRLM tissue. Upon validation, our findings could provide insights to develop strategies that involve targeting microbiota and immune cells for the prevention and treatment of CRLM.

Team OPTIMISTICC
Journal Wiley Online Library
Authors Yuki Sakamoto et al
DATE 31 August 2021
Long-term risk of subsequent ipsilateral lesions after surgery with or without radiotherapy for ductal carcinoma in situ of the…

Background: Radiotherapy (RT) following breast-conserving surgery (BCS) for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) reduces ipsilateral breast event rates in clinical trials. This study assessed the impact of DCIS treatment on a 20-year risk of ipsilateral DCIS (iDCIS) and ipsilateral invasive breast cancer (iIBC) in a population-based cohort.

Methods: The cohort comprised all women diagnosed with DCIS in the Netherlands during 1989–2004 with follow-up until 2017. Cumulative incidence of iDCIS and iIBC following BCS and BCS + RT were assessed. Associations of DCIS treatment with iDCIS and iIBC risk were estimated in multivariable Cox models.

Results: The 20-year cumulative incidence of any ipsilateral breast event was 30.6% (95% confidence interval (CI): 28.9–32.6) after BCS compared to 18.2% (95% CI 16.3–20.3) following BCS + RT. Women treated with BCS compared to BCS + RT had higher risk of developing iDCIS and iIBC within 5 years after DCIS diagnosis (for iDCIS: hazard ratio (HR)age < 50 3.2 (95% CI 1.6–6.6); HRage ≥ 50 3.6 (95% CI 2.6–4.8) and for iIBC: HRage<50 2.1 (95% CI 1.4–3.2); HRage ≥ 50 4.3 (95% CI 3.0–6.0)). After 10 years, the risk of iDCIS and iIBC no longer differed for BCS versus BCS + RT (for iDCIS: HRage < 50 0.7 (95% CI 0.3–1.5); HRage ≥ 50 0.7 (95% CI 0.4–1.3) and for iIBC: HRage < 50 0.6 (95% CI 0.4–0.9); HRage ≥ 50 1.2 (95% CI 0.9–1.6)).

Conclusions: RT is associated with lower iDCIS and iIBC risk up to 10 years after BCS, but this effect wanes thereafter.

Team PRECISION
Journal British Journal of Cancer
Authors Maartje van Seijen et al
DATE 18 August 2021