Origins of Second Malignancies in Children and Mutational Footprint of Chemotherapy in Normal Tissues

Pediatric cancers are rare diseases, and children without known germline predisposing conditions who develop a second malignancy during developmental ages are extremely rare. We present four such clinical cases and, through whole-genome and error-correcting ultra-deep duplex sequencing of tumor and normal samples, we explored the origin of the second malignancy in four children, uncovering different routes of development. The exposure to cytotoxic therapies was linked to the emergence of a secondary acute myeloid leukemia. A common somatic mutation acquired early during embryonic development was the driver of two solid malignancies in another child. In two cases, the two tumors developed from completely independent clones diverging during embryogenesis. Importantly, we demonstrate that platinum-based therapies contributed at least one order of magnitude more mutations per day of exposure than aging to normal tissues in these children.

Journal Cancer Discovery
Authors Mònica Sánchez-Guixé et al
DATE 19 March 2024
Improved detection of colibactin-induced mutations by genotoxic E. coli in organoids and colorectal cancer

Co-culture of intestinal organoids with a colibactin-producing pks+E. coli strain (EcC) revealed mutational signatures also found in colorectal cancer (CRC). E. coli Nissle 1917 (EcN) remains a commonly used probiotic, despite harboring the pks operon and inducing double strand DNA breaks. We determine the mutagenicity of EcN and three CRC-derived pks+E. coli strains with an analytical framework based on sequence characteristic of colibactin-induced mutations. All strains, including EcN, display varying levels of mutagenic activity. Furthermore, a machine learning approach attributing individual mutations to colibactin reveals that patients with colibactin-induced mutations are diagnosed at a younger age and that colibactin can induce a specific APC mutation. These approaches allow the sensitive detection of colibactin-induced mutations in ∼12% of CRC genomes and even in whole exome sequencing data, representing a crucial step toward pinpointing the mutagenic activity of distinct pks+E. coli strains.

Journal Cancer Cell
Authors Axel Rosendahl Huber et al
DATE 11 March 2024
Extrachromosomal DNA in cancer

Extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) has recently been recognized as a major contributor to cancer pathogenesis that is identified in most cancer types and is associated with poor outcomes. When it was discovered over 60 years ago, ecDNA was considered to be rare, and its impact on tumour biology was not well understood. The application of modern imaging and computational techniques has yielded powerful new insights into the importance of ecDNA in cancer. The non-chromosomal inheritance of ecDNA during cell division results in high oncogene copy number, intra-tumoural genetic heterogeneity and rapid tumour evolution that contributes to treatment resistance and shorter patient survival. In addition, the circular architecture of ecDNA results in altered patterns of gene regulation that drive elevated oncogene expression, potentially enabling the remodelling of tumour genomes. The generation of clusters of ecDNAs, termed ecDNA hubs, results in interactions between enhancers and promoters in trans, yielding a new paradigm in oncogenic transcription. In this Review, we highlight the rapid advancements in ecDNA research, providing new insights into ecDNA biogenesis, maintenance and transcription and its role in promoting tumour heterogeneity. To conclude, we delve into a set of unanswered questions whose answers will pave the way for the development of ecDNA targeted therapeutic approaches.

Team eDyNAmiC
Journal Nature Reviews Cancer
Authors Xiaowei Yan, Paul Mischel & Howard Chang
DATE 26 February 2024
The Mutographs biorepository: A unique genomic resource to study cancer around the world

Large-scale biorepositories and databases are essential to generate equitable, effective, and sustainable advances in cancer prevention, early detection, cancer therapy, cancer care, and surveillance. The Mutographs project has created a large genomic dataset and biorepository of over 7,800 cancer cases from 30 countries across five continents with extensive demographic, lifestyle, environmental, and clinical information. Whole-genome sequencing is being finalized for over 4,000 cases, with the primary goal of understanding the causes of cancer at eight anatomic sites. Genomic, exposure, and clinical data will be publicly available through the International Cancer Genome Consortium Accelerating Research in Genomic Oncology platform. The Mutographs sample and metadata biorepository constitutes a legacy resource for new projects and collaborations aiming to increase our current research efforts in cancer genomic epidemiology globally.

Team Mutographs
Journal Cell Genomics
Authors Sandra Perdomo et al
DATE 06 February 2024
Enrichment of Bacteroides fragilis and enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis in CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP)-high…


Data support that enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis (ETBF) harbouring the Bacteroides fragilis toxin (bft) gene may promote colorectal tumourigenesis through the serrated neoplasia pathway. We hypothesised that ETBF may be enriched in colorectal carcinoma subtypes with high-level CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP-high), BRAF mutation, and high-level microsatellite instability (MSI-high).



Quantitative polymerase chain reaction assays were designed to quantify DNA amounts of Bacteroides fragilis, ETBF, and each bft gene isotype (bft-1, bft-2, or bft-3) in colorectal carcinomas in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and Nurses’ Health Study. We used multivariable-adjusted logistic regression models with the inverse probability weighting method.



We documented 4,476 colorectal cancer cases, including 1,232 cases with available bacterial data. High DNA amounts of Bacteroides fragilis and ETBF were positively associated with BRAF mutation (P ≤0.0003), CIMP-high (P ≤0.0002), and MSI-high (P <0.0001 and P =0.01, respectively). Multivariable-adjusted odds ratios (ORs, with 95% confidence interval) for high Bacteroides fragilis were 1.40 (1.06-1.85) for CIMP-high and 2.14 (1.65-2.77) for MSI-high, but 1.02 (0.78-1.35) for BRAF mutation. Multivariable-adjusted ORs for high ETBF were 2.00 (1.16-3.45) for CIMP-high and 2.86 (1.64-5.00) for BRAF mutation, but 1.09 (0.67-1.76) for MSI-high. Neither Bacteroides fragilis nor ETBF was associated with colorectal cancer-specific or overall survival.



The tissue abundance of Bacteroides fragilis is associated with CIMP-high and MSI-high, whereas ETBF abundance is associated with CIMP-high and BRAF mutation in colorectal carcinoma. Our findings support the aetiological relevance of Bacteroides fragilis and ETBF in the serrated neoplasia pathway.

Journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection
Authors Yasutoshi Takashima et al
DATE 22 January 2024