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Multi-scale characterisation of homologous recombination deficiency in breast cancer

Jacobson, Daniel H; Pan, Shi; Fisher, Jasmin; Secrier, Maria; (2023) Multi-scale characterisation of homologous recombination deficiency in breast cancer. Genome Medicine , 15 , Article 90. 10.1186/s13073-023-01239-7. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Homologous recombination is a robust, broadly error-free mechanism of double-strand break repair, and deficiencies lead to PARP inhibitor sensitivity. Patients displaying homologous recombination deficiency can be identified using 'mutational signatures'. However, these patterns are difficult to reliably infer from exome sequencing. Additionally, as mutational signatures are a historical record of mutagenic processes, this limits their utility in describing the current status of a tumour. METHODS: We apply two methods for characterising homologous recombination deficiency in breast cancer to explore the features and heterogeneity associated with this phenotype. We develop a likelihood-based method which leverages small insertions and deletions for high-confidence classification of homologous recombination deficiency for exome-sequenced breast cancers. We then use multinomial elastic net regression modelling to develop a transcriptional signature of heterogeneous homologous recombination deficiency. This signature is then applied to single-cell RNA-sequenced breast cancer cohorts enabling analysis of homologous recombination deficiency heterogeneity and differential patterns of tumour microenvironment interactivity. RESULTS: We demonstrate that the inclusion of indel events, even at low levels, improves homologous recombination deficiency classification. Whilst BRCA-positive homologous recombination deficient samples display strong similarities to those harbouring BRCA1/2 defects, they appear to deviate in microenvironmental features such as hypoxic signalling. We then present a 228-gene transcriptional signature which simultaneously characterises homologous recombination deficiency and BRCA1/2-defect status, and is associated with PARP inhibitor response. Finally, we show that this signature is applicable to single-cell transcriptomics data and predict that these cells present a distinct milieu of interactions with their microenvironment compared to their homologous recombination proficient counterparts, typified by a decreased cancer cell response to TNFα signalling. CONCLUSIONS: We apply multi-scale approaches to characterise homologous recombination deficiency in breast cancer through the development of mutational and transcriptional signatures. We demonstrate how indels can improve homologous recombination deficiency classification in exome-sequenced breast cancers. Additionally, we demonstrate the heterogeneity of homologous recombination deficiency, especially in relation to BRCA1/2-defect status, and show that indications of this feature can be captured at a single-cell level, enabling further investigations into interactions between DNA repair deficient cells and their tumour microenvironment.

Type: Article
Title: Multi-scale characterisation of homologous recombination deficiency in breast cancer
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s13073-023-01239-7
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13073-023-01239-7
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Keywords: Homologous recombination defciency, Mutational signatures, PARP inhibition, Breast cancer, Transcriptional classifer, Single cell, Tumour microenvironment
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute > Research Department of Pathology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10180964
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