Need Help?

mRNA capture sequencing and RT-qPCR for the detection of pathognomonic, novel and secondary fusion transcripts in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue: a sarcoma showcase

RNA sequencing is widely used to study gene abundance patterns, but less frequently to assess structural alterations such as fusion transcripts. In this study, we assess the performance of messenger RNA (mRNA) capture sequencing to identify fusion transcripts in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue of different types of sarcoma, followed by orthogonal confirmation using RT-qPCR. To validate our workflow, we used the TruSight RNA Pan-Cancer Panel to analyze a first cohort of 6 positive control tumors for which the diagnostic workup demonstrated the presence of a specific chromosomal rearrangement. Fusion transcript calling by FusionCatcher confirmed all known aberrations and enabled the identification of both fusion gene partners and breakpoints. Next, whole transcriptome TruSeq RNA Exome sequencing was applied to a second cohort of 17 patients, diagnosed with fusion gene-negative alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) or undifferentiated round cell sarcoma (URCS), for whom fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) did not identify the classical pathognomonic rearrangements. Remarkably, for 6 out of 17 patients, mRNA capture sequencing readily detected a pathognomonic fusion transcript, i.e. PAX3-FOXO1 in 2 ARMS patients, and EWSR1-FLI1, EWSR1-ERG or EWSR1-NFATC2 in 4 URCS patients. These data show that RNA capture sequencing may enhance the detection rate of pathognomonic fusion genes in sarcoma. For the 11 patients with no known pathognomonic fusion transcript, 11 newly identified fusion transcripts were confirmed by RT-qPCR, including COPS3-TOM1L2, NCOA1-DTNB, WWTR1-LINC01986, PLAA-MOB3B, AP1B1-CHEK2 and BRD4-LEUTX fusion transcripts in ARMS patients. Additionally, recurrently detected secondary fusion transcripts in two patients diagnosed with EWSR1-NFATC2-positive sarcoma were confirmed (COPS4-TBC1D9, PICALM-SYTL2, SMG6-VPS53 and UBE2F-ALS2). Our results provide new insights into the underlying genetic causes of these malignancies.

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
EGAD00001007696 Illumina MiSeq NextSeq 500 28
Publications Citations
mRNA Capture Sequencing and RT-qPCR for the Detection of Pathognomonic, Novel, and Secondary Fusion Transcripts in FFPE Tissue: A Sarcoma Showcase.
Int J Mol Sci 23: 2022 11007