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Genetic and epigenetic characterization of adenoid cystic carcinoma

Translocation events are frequent in cancer and may create chimeric fusions or regulatory rearrangements that drive oncogene overexpression. Although regulatory rearrangements are increasingly recognized in hematopoietic and even solid tumors, the underlying mechanisms remain obscure. Here we identify super-enhancer translocations that drive overexpression of the oncogenic transcription factor MYB as a unifying theme in adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC). Whole genome sequencing data and chromatin state maps for 13 primary tumors and xenografts reveal distinct chromosomal rearrangements that juxtapose super-enhancer clusters to the MYB locus. Chromosome conformation capture confirms that the translocated enhancers physically interact with the MYB promoter. Remarkably, the MYB product itself binds to the translocated enhancers, thus creating a positive feedback loop that sustains its own expression. MYB also binds a large number of active enhancers that drive opposing regulatory programs in alternate cell lineages in ACC. MYB cooperates with the transcription factor TP63 in the myoepithelial component of the tumors, but promotes a Notch program in the luminal epithelial component. Bromodomain inhibitors, which disrupt enhancer function, slow tumor growth in ACC primagraft models in vivo, but are ineffective against high grade tumors that harbor activating mutations in the Notch pathway. Thus, our study identifies super-enhancer translocations as a unifying feature of ACC, and provides insight into the mechanism by which sustained MYB overexpression drives alternate cell fates in this disease.Processed ChIP-seq data is available on GEO under accession number GSE76465.

Click on a Dataset ID in the table below to learn more, and to find out who to contact about access to these data

Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00001001662 Illumina HiSeq 2000 Illumina HiSeq 2500 Illumina MiSeq NextSeq 500 58
Publications Citations
An oncogenic MYB feedback loop drives alternate cell fates in adenoid cystic carcinoma.
Nat Genet 48: 2016 265-272