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Publication Detail
Phenotypic plasticity and genetic control in colorectal cancer evolution
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Househam J, Heide T, Cresswell GD, Spiteri I, Kimberley C, Zapata L, Lynn C, James C, Mossner M, Fernandez-Mateos J, Vinceti A, Baker A-M, Gabbutt C, Berner A, Schmidt M, Chen B, Lakatos E, Gunasri V, Nichol D, Costa H, Mitchinson M, Ramazzotti D, Werner B, Iorio F, Jansen M, Caravagna G, Barnes CP, Shibata D, Bridgewater J, Rodriguez-Justo M, Magnani L, Sottoriva A, Graham TA
  • Publisher:
    Springer Science and Business Media LLC
  • Publication date:
    26/10/2022
  • Journal:
    Nature
  • Medium:
    Print-Electronic
  • Status:
    Published
  • Country:
    England
  • PII:
    10.1038/s41586-022-05311-x
  • Language:
    English
  • Notes:
    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Abstract
Genetic and epigenetic variation, together with transcriptional plasticity, contribute to intratumour heterogeneity1. The interplay of these biological processes and their respective contributions to tumour evolution remain unknown. Here we show that intratumour genetic ancestry only infrequently affects gene expression traits and subclonal evolution in colorectal cancer (CRC). Using spatially resolved paired whole-genome and transcriptome sequencing, we find that the majority of intratumour variation in gene expression is not strongly heritable but rather 'plastic'. Somatic expression quantitative trait loci analysis identified a number of putative genetic controls of expression by cis-acting coding and non-coding mutations, the majority of which were clonal within a tumour, alongside frequent structural alterations. Consistently, computational inference on the spatial patterning of tumour phylogenies finds that a considerable proportion of CRCs did not show evidence of subclonal selection, with only a subset of putative genetic drivers associated with subclone expansions. Spatial intermixing of clones is common, with some tumours growing exponentially and others only at the periphery. Together, our data suggest that most genetic intratumour variation in CRC has no major phenotypic consequence and that transcriptional plasticity is, instead, widespread within a tumour.
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