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Paper Chase

Genomic sequencing of colorectal adenocarcinomas identifies a recurrent VTI1A-TCF7L2 fusion.

Nat. Genet.. Sep 04, 2011;43(10):964-968.
Bass AJ, Lawrence MS, Brace LE, Ramos AH, Drier Y, Cibulskis K, Sougnez C, Voet D, Saksena G, Sivachenko A, Jing R, Parkin M, Pugh T, Verhaak RG, Stransky N, Boutin AT, Barretina J, Solit DB, Vakiani E, Shao W, Mishina Y, Warmuth M, Jimenez J, Chiang DY, Signoretti S, Kaelin WG, Spardy N, Hahn WC, Hoshida Y, Ogino S, DePinho RA, Chin L, Garraway LA, Fuchs CS, Baselga J, Tabernero J, Gabriel S, Lander ES, Getz G, Meyerson M.

Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Prior studies have identified recurrent oncogenic mutations in colorectal adenocarcinoma and have surveyed exons of protein-coding genes for mutations in 11 affected individuals. Here we report whole-genome sequencing from nine individuals with colorectal cancer, including primary colorectal tumors and matched adjacent non-tumor tissues, at an average of 30.7× and 31.9× coverage, respectively. We identify an average of 75 somatic rearrangements per tumor, including complex networks of translocations between pairs of chromosomes. Eleven rearrangements encode predicted in-frame fusion proteins, including a fusion of VTI1A and TCF7L2 found in 3 out of 97 colorectal cancers. Although TCF7L2 encodes TCF4, which cooperates with β-catenin in colorectal carcinogenesis, the fusion lacks the TCF4 β-catenin-binding domain. We found a colorectal carcinoma cell line harboring the fusion gene to be dependent on VTI1A-TCF7L2 for anchorage-independent growth using RNA interference-mediated knockdown. This study shows previously unidentified levels of genomic rearrangements in colorectal carcinoma that can lead to essential gene fusions and other oncogenic events.