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Dynamics of genomic clones in breast cancer patient xenografts at single cell resolution

Human cancers, including breast cancers, are comprised of clones differing in mutation content that evolve dynamically in space and time following principles of Darwinian evolution, underpinning important emergent features such as drug resistance and metastasis. Human breast cancer xenoengraftment is used as a means of capturing and studying tumour biology, and breast tumour xenografts are generally assumed to be reasonable models of the originating tumours. However the consequences and reproducibility of engraftment and propagation on the genomic clonal architecture of tumours has not been systematically examined at single cell resolution. Here we show by both deep genome and single cell sequencing methods, the clonal dynamics of initial engraftment and subsequent serial propagation of primary and metastatic human breast cancers in immunodeficient mice. In all cases examined, clonal selection on engraftment was observed in both primary and metastatic breast tumours, varying in degree from extreme selective engraftment of minor (<5% of starting population) clones to moderate, polyclonal engraftment. Furthermore, ongoing clonal dynamics during serial passaging is a feature of tumours experiencing modest initial selection. Through single cell sequencing, we show that major mutation clusters estimated from tumour population sequencing relate predictably to the most abundant clonal genotypes, even in clonally complex and rapidly evolving cases. Finally, we show that similar clonal expansion patterns can emerge in independent grafts of the same starting tumour population, indicating that genomic aberrations can be reproducible determinants of evolutionary trajectories. Our results show that measurement of genomically defined clonal population dynamics will be highly informative for functional studies utilizing patient-derived breast cancer xenoengraftment.

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Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00001001066 Illumina HiSeq 2000 Illumina MiSeq 188
Publications Citations
Dynamics of genomic clones in breast cancer patient xenografts at single-cell resolution.
Nature 518: 2015 422-426
Kronos: a workflow assembler for genome analytics and informatics.
Gigascience 6: 2017 1-10
EvoFreq: visualization of the Evolutionary Frequencies of sequence and model data.
BMC Bioinformatics 20: 2019 710