Field Cancerization

[PMID: 29217838] [Nature Reviews Cancer]

An evolutionary perspective on field cancerization

“Field cancerization, which is the replacement of the normal cell population by a cancer-primed cell population that may show no morphological change, is now recognized to underlie the development of many types of cancer, including the common carcinomas of the lung, colon, skin, prostate and bladder. Field cancerization is the consequence of the evolution of somatic cells in the body that results in cells that carry some but not all phenotypes required for malignancy.”



[PMID: 29229983] [Nature Genetics]

Annotation-free quantification of RNA splicing using LeafCutter

“We developed LeafCutter to study sample and population variation in intron splicing. LeafCutter identifies variable splicing events from short-read RNA-seq data and finds events of high complexity. Our approach obviates the need for transcript annotations and circumvents the challenges in estimating relative isoform or exon usage in complex splicing events. LeafCutter can be used both to detect differential splicing between sample groups and to map splicing quantitative trait loci (sQTLs).” Work from Jonathan Pritchard.

MEC by Single-Cell RNA-seq

[PMID: 29225342] [Nature Communications]

Differentiation dynamics of mammary epithelial cells revealed by single-cell RNA sequencing

“Here we report the use of single-cell RNA sequencing to determine the gene expression profile of MECs across four developmental stages; nulliparous, mid gestation, lactation and post involution. Our analysis of 23,184 cells identifies 15 clusters, few of which could be fully characterised by a single marker gene. We argue instead that the epithelial cells—especially in the luminal compartment—should rather be conceptualised as being part of a continuous spectrum of differentiation. Furthermore, our data support the existence of a common luminal progenitor cell giving rise to intermediate, restricted alveolar and hormone-sensing progenitors. This luminal progenitor compartment undergoes transcriptional changes in response to a full pregnancy, lactation and involution.”

Breast Cancer Organoids

[PMID: 29224780] [Cell]
A Living Biobank of Breast Cancer Organoids Captures Disease Heterogeneity

“a robust protocol for long-term culturing of human mammary epithelial organoids. Using this protocol, >100 primary and metastatic BC organoid lines were generated, broadly recapitulating the diversity of the disease. BC organoid morphologies typically matched the histopathology, hormone receptor status, and HER2 status of the original tumor. DNA copy number variations as well as sequence changes were consistent within tumor-organoid pairs and largely retained even after extended passaging. BC organoids furthermore populated all major gene-expression-based classification groups and allowed in vitro drug screens that were consistent with in vivo xeno-transplantations and patient response. “