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PLoS One. 2011;6(8):e22961. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022961. Epub 2011 Aug 2.

Impact on disease development, genomic location and biological function of copy number alterations in non-small cell lung cancer.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Abstract

Lung cancer, of which more than 80% is non-small cell, is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Copy number alterations (CNAs) in lung cancer have been shown to be positionally clustered in certain genomic regions. However, it remains unclear whether genes with copy number changes are functionally clustered. Using a dense single nucleotide polymorphism array, we performed genome-wide copy number analyses of a large collection of non-small cell lung tumors (n = 301). We proposed a formal statistical test for CNAs between different groups (e.g., non-involved lung vs. tumors, early vs. late stage tumors). We also customized the gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) algorithm to investigate the overrepresentation of genes with CNAs in predefined biological pathways and gene sets (i.e., functional clustering). We found that CNAs events increase substantially from germline, early stage to late stage tumor. In addition to genomic position, CNAs tend to occur away from the gene locations, especially in germline, non-involved tissue and early stage tumors. Such tendency decreases from germline to early stage and then to late stage tumors, suggesting a relaxation of selection during tumor progression. Furthermore, genes with CNAs in non-small cell lung tumors were enriched in certain gene sets and biological pathways that play crucial roles in oncogenesis and cancer progression, demonstrating the functional aspect of CNAs in the context of biological pathways that were overlooked previously. We conclude that CNAs increase with disease progression and CNAs are both positionally and functionally clustered. The potential functional capabilities acquired via CNAs may be sufficient for normal cells to transform into malignant cells.

PMID:
21829676
PMCID:
PMC3149069
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0022961
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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