Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cancer's origins revealed: Genetic imprints and signatures left by DNA-damaging processes that lead to cancer identified

Date:
August 14, 2013
Source:
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Summary:
Scientists have provided the first comprehensive genomic map of mutational processes that drive tumour development. Together, these mutational processes explain the majority of mutations found in 30 of the most common cancer types.

Researchers have provided the first comprehensive compendium of mutational processes that drive tumour development. Together, these mutational processes explain most mutations found in 30 of the most common cancer types.
Credit: © Ivelin Radkov / Fotolia

Researchers have provided the first comprehensive compendium of mutational processes that drive tumour development. Together, these mutational processes explain most mutations found in 30 of the most common cancer types. This new understanding of cancer development could help to treat and prevent a wide-range of cancers.

Related Articles


Each mutational process leaves a particular pattern of mutations, an imprint or signature, in the genomes of cancers it has caused. By studying 7,042 genomes of people with the most common forms of cancer, the team uncovered more than 20 signatures of processes that mutate DNA. For many of the signatures, they also identified the underlying biological process responsible.

All cancers are caused by mutations in DNA occurring in cells of the body during a person's lifetime. Although we know that chemicals in tobacco smoke cause mutations in lung cells that lead to lung cancers and ultraviolet light causes mutations in skin cells that lead to skin cancers, we have remarkably little understanding of the biological processes that cause the mutations which are responsible for the development of most cancers.

"We have identified the majority of the mutational signatures that explain the genetic development and history of cancers in patients," says Ludmil Alexandrov first author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. "We are now beginning to understand the complicated biological processes that occur over time and leave these residual mutational signatures on cancer genomes."

All of the cancers contained two or more signatures, reflecting the variety of processes that work together during the development of cancer. However, different cancers have different numbers of mutational processes. For example, two mutational processes underlie the development of ovarian cancer, while six mutational processes underlie the development of liver cancer.

Some of the mutational signatures are found in multiple cancer types, while others are confined to a single cancer type. Out of the 30 cancer types, 25 had signatures arising from age-related mutational processes. Another signature, caused by defects in repairing DNA due to mutations in the breast cancer susceptibility genes BRCA1 and 2, was found in breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancers.

"Through detailed analysis, we can start to use the overwhelming amounts of information buried deep in the DNA of cancers to our advantage in terms of understanding how and why cancers arise,"says Dr Serena Nik-Zainal, author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. "Our map of the events that cause the majority of cancers in humans is an important step to discovering the processes that drive cancer formation."

The team found that a family of enzymes, which is known to 'edit' (ie mutate) DNA, was linked to more than half of the cancer types. These enzymes, known as APOBECs, can be activated in response to viral infections. It may be that the resulting signatures are collateral damage on the human genome caused by the enzymes' actions to protect cells from viruses.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ludmil B. Alexandrov, Serena Nik-Zainal, David C. Wedge, Samuel A. J. R. Aparicio, Sam Behjati, Andrew V. Biankin, Graham R. Bignell, Niccolò Bolli, Ake Borg, Anne-Lise Børresen-Dale, Sandrine Boyault, Birgit Burkhardt, Adam P. Butler, Carlos Caldas, Helen R. Davies, Christine Desmedt, Roland Eils, Jórunn Erla Eyfjörd, John A. Foekens, Mel Greaves, Fumie Hosoda, Barbara Hutter, Tomislav Ilicic, Sandrine Imbeaud, Marcin Imielinsk, Natalie Jäger, David T. W. Jones, David Jones, Stian Knappskog, Marcel Kool, Sunil R. Lakhani, Carlos López-Otín, Sancha Martin, Nikhil C. Munshi, Hiromi Nakamura, Paul A. Northcott, Marina Pajic, Elli Papaemmanuil, Angelo Paradiso, John V. Pearson, Xose S. Puente, Keiran Raine, Manasa Ramakrishna, Andrea L. Richardson, Julia Richter, Philip Rosenstiel, Matthias Schlesner, Ton N. Schumacher, Paul N. Span, Jon W. Teague, Yasushi Totoki, Andrew N. J. Tutt, Rafael Valdés-Mas, Marit M. van Buuren, Laura van ’t Veer, Anne Vincent-Salomon, Nicola Waddell, Lucy R. Yates, Jessica Zucman-Rossi, P. Andrew Futreal, Ultan McDermott, Peter Lichter, Matthew Meyerson, Sean M. Grimmond, Reiner Siebert, Elías Campo, Tatsuhiro Shibata, Stefan M. Pfister, Peter J. Campbell, Michael R. Stratton. Signatures of mutational processes in human cancer. Nature, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nature12477

Cite This Page:

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. "Cancer's origins revealed: Genetic imprints and signatures left by DNA-damaging processes that lead to cancer identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814132445.htm>.
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. (2013, August 14). Cancer's origins revealed: Genetic imprints and signatures left by DNA-damaging processes that lead to cancer identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814132445.htm
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. "Cancer's origins revealed: Genetic imprints and signatures left by DNA-damaging processes that lead to cancer identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814132445.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) — Madagascar said Monday it is trying to contain an outbreak of plague -- similar to the Black Death that swept Medieval Europe -- that has killed 40 people and is spreading to the capital Antananarivo. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins