Assessment of intra-tumor genetic heterogeneity in lung cancer
Thursday, September 14, 2017 - 10:50am - 11:20am
Intra-tumor heterogeneity is a hallmark of nearly all cancers. Populations of tumor cells show remarkable heterogeneity in almost all phenotypic attributes, including clinically important features such as treatment resistance and metastatic potential. Intra-tumor heterogeneity (ITH) represents a major challenge for effective cancer treatment and precision medicine. However, the patterns of ITH and aspects of underlying modes of tumor evolution are poorly understood for most cancer types. We sequenced spatially distinct regions from a number of operable lung squamous cell carcinoma and adjacent benign tissues, and developed novel computational approaches to dissect the key aspects of ITH and associated signatures of tumor evolution. Our findings suggest that patterns of ITH show systematic variation based on disease etiology, mode of cancer evolution, and also correlate with clinical features. We propose that it might be possible to infer important aspects of cancer progression from patterns of ITH, beyond that already captured by cancer gene profiling in the Cancer Precision Medicine Initiatives.