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  • 1
    Keywords: CANCER ; PATHWAY ; GENE-EXPRESSION ; TRANSCRIPTION FACTOR ; PROGRESSION ; chemotherapy ; EMBRYONIC STEM-CELLS ; PROMOTER HYPERMETHYLATION ; AML ; TUMOR-NECROSIS
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Aberrant DNA methylation is frequently found in human malignancies including acute myeloid leukemia (AML). While most studies focus on later disease stages, the onset of aberrant DNA methylation events and their dynamics during leukemic progression are largely unknown. METHODS: We screened genome-wide for aberrant CpG island methylation in three disease stages of a murine AML model that is driven by hypomorphic expression of the hematopoietic transcription factor PU.1. DNA methylation levels of selected genes were correlated with methylation levels of CD34+ cells and lineage negative, CD127-, c-Kit+, Sca-1+ cells; common myeloid progenitors; granulocyte-macrophage progenitors; and megakaryocyte-erythroid progenitors. RESULTS: We identified 1,184 hypermethylated array probes covering 762 associated genes in the preleukemic stage. During disease progression, the number of hypermethylated genes increased to 5,465 in the late leukemic disease stage. Using publicly available data, we found a significant enrichment of PU.1 binding sites in the preleukemic hypermethylated genes, suggesting that shortage of PU.1 makes PU.1 binding sites in the DNA accessible for aberrant methylation. Many known AML associated genes such as RUNX1 and HIC1 were found among the preleukemic hypermethylated genes. Nine novel hypermethylated genes, FZD5, FZD8, PRDM16, ROBO3, CXCL14, BCOR, ITPKA, HES6 and TAL1, the latter four being potential PU.1 targets, were confirmed to be hypermethylated in human normal karyotype AML patients, underscoring the relevance of the mouse model for human AML. CONCLUSIONS: Our study identified early aberrantly methylated genes as potential contributors to onset and progression of AML.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24944583
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  • 2
    Keywords: RECEPTOR ; KINASE ; PROTEIN ; DOWN-REGULATION ; fibroblasts ; BONE-MARROW ; STROMAL CELLS ; INTERNATIONAL-SOCIETY ; THERAPY POSITION STATEMENT ; GENOME-WIDE RNAI
    Abstract: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are promising candidates for cellular therapies ranging from tissue repair in regenerative medicine to immunomodulation in graft versus host disease after allogeneic transplantation or in autoimmune diseases. Nonetheless, progress has been hampered by their enormous phenotypic as well as functional heterogeneity and the lack of uniform standards and guidelines for quality control. In this study, we describe a method to perform cellular phenotyping by high-throughput RNA interference in primary human bone marrow MSCs. We have shown that despite heterogeneity of MSC populations, robust functional assays can be established that are suitable for high-throughput and high-content screening. We profiled primary human MSCs against human fibroblasts. Network analysis showed a kinome fingerprint that differs from human primary fibroblasts as well as fibroblast cell lines. In conclusion, this study shows that high-throughput screening in primary human MSCs can be reliably used for kinome fingerprinting.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26120366
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  • 3
    Keywords: chromosome ; PARTICIPANTS ; PERSPECTIVES ; RECOMMENDATIONS ; BIOBANKS ; GENOMIC RESEARCH ; EXOME ; RETURN ; RESEARCHERS
    Abstract: Incidental findings are the subject of intense ethical debate in medical genomic research. Every human genome contains a number of potentially disease-causing alterations that may be detected during comprehensive genetic analyses to investigate a specific condition. Yet available evidence shows that the frequency of incidental findings in research is much lower than expected. In this Opinion, we argue that the reason for the low level of incidental findings is that the filtering techniques and methods that are applied during the routine handling of genomic data remove these alterations. As incidental findings are systematically filtered out, it is now time to evaluate whether the ethical debate is focused on the right issues. We conclude that the key question is whether to deliberately target and search for disease-causing variations outside the indication that has originally led to the genetic analysis, for instance by using positive lists and algorithms.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26229554
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  • 4
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    Genome Medicine 6 (), - 
    Keywords: CELL LUNG-CANCER ; COLORECTAL-CANCER ; PROSTATE-CANCER ; POLYMERASE-CHAIN-REACTION ; CHRONIC LYMPHOCYTIC-LEUKEMIA ; ACUTE MYELOID-LEUKEMIA ; PROMOTER HYPERMETHYLATION ; NEGATIVE BREAST-CANCER ; PEDIATRIC GLIOBLASTOMA ; COMPREHENSIVE GENOMIC CHARACTERIZATION
    Abstract: The comparison of DNA methylation patterns across cancer types (pan-cancer methylome analyses) has revealed distinct subgroups of tumors that share similar methylation patterns. Integration of these data with the wealth of information derived from cancer genome profiling studies performed by large international consortia has provided novel insights into the cellular aberrations that contribute to cancer development. There is evidence that genetic mutations in epigenetic regulators (such as DNMT3, IDH1/2 or H3.3) mediate or contribute to these patterns, although a unifying molecular mechanism underlying the global alterations of DNA methylation has largely been elusive. Knowledge gained from pan-cancer methylome analyses will aid the development of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, improve patient stratification and the discovery of novel druggable targets for therapy, and will generate hypotheses for innovative clinical trial designs based on methylation subgroups rather than on cancer subtypes. In this review, we discuss recent advances in the global profiling of tumor genomes for aberrant DNA methylation and the integration of these data with cancer genome profiling data, highlight potential mechanisms leading to different methylation subgroups, and show how this information can be used in basic research and for translational applications. A remaining challenge is to experimentally prove the functional link between observed pan-cancer methylation patterns, the associated genetic aberrations, and their relevance for the development of cancer.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
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  • 5
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    Genome Medicine 7 (1), Art. Nr.: 31- 
    Keywords: CANCER ; GENES
    Abstract: Most pediatric tumors have only very few somatic mutations. However, a recent study revealed that a subset of tumors from children with congenital biallelic deficiency of DNA mismatch repair exhibits a mutational load surpassing almost all other cancers. In these ultra-hypermutated tumors, somatic mutations in the proofreading DNA polymerases complement the congenital mismatch repair deficiency to completely abolish replication repair, thereby driving tumor development. These findings open several possibilities for exploiting ultra-hypermutation for cancer therapy.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25821521
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  • 6
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Variability in drug efficacy and adverse effects are observed in clinical practice. While the extent of genetic variability in classic pharmacokinetic genes is rather well understood, the role of genetic variation in drug targets is typically less studied. METHODS: Based on 60,706 human exomes from the ExAC dataset, we performed an in-depth computational analysis of the prevalence of functional variants in 806 drug-related genes, including 628 known drug targets. We further computed the likelihood of 1236 FDA-approved drugs to be affected by functional variants in their targets in the whole ExAC population as well as different geographic sub-populations. RESULTS: We find that most genetic variants in drug-related genes are very rare (f 〈 0.1%) and thus will likely not be observed in clinical trials. Furthermore, we show that patient risk varies for many drugs and with respect to geographic ancestry. A focused analysis of oncological drug targets indicates that the probability of a patient carrying germline variants in oncological drug targets is, at 44%, high enough to suggest that not only somatic alterations but also germline variants carried over into the tumor genome could affect the response to antineoplastic agents. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that even though many variants are very rare and thus likely not observed in clinical trials, four in five patients are likely to carry a variant with possibly functional effects in a target for commonly prescribed drugs. Such variants could potentially alter drug efficacy.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 29273096
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  • 7
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: A comprehensive understanding of cancer has been furthered with technological improvements and decreasing costs of next-generation sequencing (NGS). However, the complexity of interpreting genomic data is hindering the implementation of high-throughput technologies in the clinical context: increasing evidence on gene-drug interactions complicates the task of assigning clinical significance to genomic variants. METHODS: Here we present a method that automatically matches patient-specific genomic alterations to treatment options. The method relies entirely on public knowledge of somatic variants with predictive evidence on drug response. The output report is aimed at supporting clinicians in the task of finding the clinical meaning of genomic variants. We applied the method to 1) The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and Genomics Evidence Neoplasia Information Exchange (GENIE) cohorts and 2) 11 patients from the NCT MASTER trial whose treatment discussions included information on their genomic profiles. RESULTS: Our reporting strategy showed a substantial number of patients with actionable variants in the analyses of TCGA and GENIE samples. Notably, it was able to reproduce experts' treatment suggestions in a retrospective study of 11 patients from the NCT MASTER trial. Our results establish a proof of concept for comprehensive, evidence-based reports as a supporting tool for discussing treatment options in tumor boards. CONCLUSIONS: We believe that a standardized method to report actionable somatic variants will smooth the incorporation of NGS in the clinical context. We anticipate that tools like the one we present here will become essential in summarizing for clinicians the growing evidence in the field of precision medicine. The R code of the presented method is provided in Additional file 6 and available at https://github.com/jperera-bel/MTB-Report .
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 29544535
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  • 8
    Abstract: The incidence of cancer and its associated mortality are increasing globally, indicating an urgent need to develop even more effective and sensitive sets of biomarkers that could help in early diagnosis and consequent intervention. Given that many cellular processes are carried out by proteins, cancer research has recently shifted toward an exploration of the full proteome for such discovery. Among the advanced methodologies that are being developed for analyzing the proteome, antibody microarrays have become a prominent tool for gathering the information required for a better understanding of disease biology, early detection, discrimination of tumors and monitoring of disease progression. Here, we review the technical aspects and challenges in the development and use of antibody microarray assays and examine recently reported applications in oncoproteomics.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 19591665
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