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Nucleic Acids Res. 2010 Nov;38(20):6985-96. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkq579. Epub 2010 Jun 29.

Targeted next-generation sequencing of DNA regions proximal to a conserved GXGXXG signaling motif enables systematic discovery of tyrosine kinase fusions in cancer.

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Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Cornell University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Tyrosine kinase (TK) fusions are attractive drug targets in cancers. However, rapid identification of these lesions has been hampered by experimental limitations. Our in silico analysis of known cancer-derived TK fusions revealed that most breakpoints occur within a defined region upstream of a conserved GXGXXG kinase motif. We therefore designed a novel DNA-based targeted sequencing approach to screen systematically for fusions within the 90 human TKs; it should detect 92% of known TK fusions. We deliberately paired 'in-solution' DNA capture with 454 sequencing to minimize starting material requirements, take advantage of long sequence reads, and facilitate mapping of fusions. To validate this platform, we analyzed genomic DNA from thyroid cancer cells (TPC-1) and leukemia cells (KG-1) with fusions known only at the mRNA level. We readily identified for the first time the genomic fusion sequences of CCDC6-RET in TPC-1 cells and FGFR1OP2-FGFR1 in KG-1 cells. These data demonstrate the feasibility of this approach to identify TK fusions across multiple human cancers in a high-throughput, unbiased manner. This method is distinct from other similar efforts, because it focuses specifically on targets with therapeutic potential, uses only 1.5 µg of DNA, and circumvents the need for complex computational sequence analysis.

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