Many somatic mutations have been detected in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), leading to the identification of some key drivers of disease progression, but the involvement of large genomic rearrangements has often been overlooked. In this study, we performed mate pair sequencing (MPseq) on genomic DNA from 24 PDAC tumors, including 15 lasercaptured microdissected PDAC and 9 patient-derived xenografts, to identify genome-wide rearrangements. Large genomic rearrangements with intragenic breakpoints altering key regulatory genes involved in PDAC progression were detected in all tumors. SMAD4, ZNF521, and FHIT were among the most frequently hit genes. Conversely, commonly reported genes with copy number gains, including MYC and GATA6, were frequently observed in the absence of direct intragenic breakpoints, suggesting a requirement for sustaining oncogenic function during PDAC progression. Integration of data from MPseq, exome sequencing, and transcriptome analysis of primary PDAC cases identified limited overlap in genes affected by both rearrangements and point mutations. However, significant overlap was observed in major PDAC-associated signaling pathways, with all PDAC exhibiting reduced SMAD4 expression, reduced SMAD-dependent TGFβ signaling, and increased WNT and Hedgehog signaling. The frequent loss of SMAD4 and FHIT due to genomic rearrangements strongly implicates these genes as key drivers of PDAC, thus highlighting the strengths of an integrated genomic and transcriptomic approach for identifying mechanisms underlying disease initiation and progression.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Mayo Biomarker Discovery Program, Center for Individualized Medicine, the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, the Mayo Clinic Laboratory Medicine and Pathology Collaborative Research Funds, and an NIH Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Pancreatic Cancer (CA102701). The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked advertisement in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.