Differential clonal evolution in oesophageal cancers in response to neo-adjuvant chemotherapy.
Findlay JM., Castro-Giner F., Makino S., Rayner E., Kartsonaki C., Cross W., Kovac M., Ulahannan D., Palles C., Gillies RS., MacGregor TP., Church D., Maynard ND., Buffa F., Cazier J-B., Graham TA., Wang L-M., Sharma RA., Middleton M., Tomlinson I.
How chemotherapy affects carcinoma genomes is largely unknown. Here we report whole-exome and deep sequencing of 30 paired oesophageal adenocarcinomas sampled before and after neo-adjuvant chemotherapy. Most, but not all, good responders pass through genetic bottlenecks, a feature associated with higher mutation burden pre-treatment. Some poor responders pass through bottlenecks, but re-grow by the time of surgical resection, suggesting a missed therapeutic opportunity. Cancers often show major changes in driver mutation presence or frequency after treatment, owing to outgrowth persistence or loss of sub-clones, copy number changes, polyclonality and/or spatial genetic heterogeneity. Post-therapy mutation spectrum shifts are also common, particularly C>A and TT>CT changes in good responders or bottleneckers. Post-treatment samples may also acquire mutations in known cancer driver genes (for example, SF3B1, TAF1 and CCND2) that are absent from the paired pre-treatment sample. Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy can rapidly and profoundly affect the oesophageal adenocarcinoma genome. Monitoring molecular changes during treatment may be clinically useful.