2,220 research outputs found

    The artificial intelligence-based model ANORAK improves histopathological grading of lung adenocarcinoma

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    The introduction of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer grading system has furthered interest in histopathological grading for risk stratification in lung adenocarcinoma. Complex morphology and high intratumoral heterogeneity present challenges to pathologists, prompting the development of artificial intelligence (AI) methods. Here we developed ANORAK (pyrAmid pooliNg crOss stReam Attention networK), encoding multiresolution inputs with an attention mechanism, to delineate growth patterns from hematoxylin and eosin-stained slides. In 1,372 lung adenocarcinomas across four independent cohorts, AI-based grading was prognostic of disease-free survival, and further assisted pathologists by consistently improving prognostication in stage I tumors. Tumors with discrepant patterns between AI and pathologists had notably higher intratumoral heterogeneity. Furthermore, ANORAK facilitates the morphological and spatial assessment of the acinar pattern, capturing acinus variations with pattern transition. Collectively, our AI method enabled the precision quantification and morphology investigation of growth patterns, reflecting intratumoral histological transitions in lung adenocarcinoma

    The evolution of lung cancer and impact of subclonal selection in TRACERx

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    Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-associated mortality worldwide1. Here we analysed 1,644 tumour regions sampled at surgery or during follow-up from the first 421 patients with non-small cell lung cancer prospectively enrolled into the TRACERx study. This project aims to decipher lung cancer evolution and address the primary study endpoint: determining the relationship between intratumour heterogeneity and clinical outcome. In lung adenocarcinoma, mutations in 22 out of 40 common cancer genes were under significant subclonal selection, including classical tumour initiators such as TP53 and KRAS. We defined evolutionary dependencies between drivers, mutational processes and whole genome doubling (WGD) events. Despite patients having a history of smoking, 8% of lung adenocarcinomas lacked evidence of tobacco-induced mutagenesis. These tumours also had similar detection rates for EGFR mutations and for RET, ROS1, ALK and MET oncogenic isoforms compared with tumours in never-smokers, which suggests that they have a similar aetiology and pathogenesis. Large subclonal expansions were associated with positive subclonal selection. Patients with tumours harbouring recent subclonal expansions, on the terminus of a phylogenetic branch, had significantly shorter disease-free survival. Subclonal WGD was detected in 19% of tumours, and 10% of tumours harboured multiple subclonal WGDs in parallel. Subclonal, but not truncal, WGD was associated with shorter disease-free survival. Copy number heterogeneity was associated with extrathoracic relapse within 1 year after surgery. These data demonstrate the importance of clonal expansion, WGD and copy number instability in determining the timing and patterns of relapse in non-small cell lung cancer and provide a comprehensive clinical cancer evolutionary data resource

    Fleeting small-scale surface magnetic fields build the quiet-Sun corona

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    Arch-like loop structures filled with million Kelvin hot plasma form the building blocks of the quiet-Sun corona. Both high-resolution observations and magnetoconvection simulations show the ubiquitous presence of magnetic fields on the solar surface on small spatial scales of ∌\sim100\,km. However, the question of how exactly these quiet-Sun coronal loops originate from the photosphere and how the magnetic energy from the surface is channeled to heat the overlying atmosphere is a long-standing puzzle. Here we report high-resolution photospheric magnetic field and coronal data acquired during the second science perihelion of Solar Orbiter that reveal a highly dynamic magnetic landscape underlying the observed quiet-Sun corona. We found that coronal loops often connect to surface regions that harbor fleeting weaker, mixed-polarity magnetic field patches structured on small spatial scales, and that coronal disturbances could emerge from these areas. We suggest that weaker magnetic fields with fluxes as low as 101510^{15}\,Mx and or those that evolve on timescales less than 5\,minutes, are crucial to understand the coronal structuring and dynamics.Comment: Accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letter

    Body composition and lung cancer-associated cachexia in TRACERx

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    Cancer-associated cachexia (CAC) is a major contributor to morbidity and mortality in individuals with non-small cell lung cancer. Key features of CAC include alterations in body composition and body weight. Here, we explore the association between body composition and body weight with survival and delineate potential biological processes and mediators that contribute to the development of CAC. Computed tomography-based body composition analysis of 651 individuals in the TRACERx (TRAcking non-small cell lung Cancer Evolution through therapy (Rx)) study suggested that individuals in the bottom 20th percentile of the distribution of skeletal muscle or adipose tissue area at the time of lung cancer diagnosis, had significantly shorter lung cancer-specific survival and overall survival. This finding was validated in 420 individuals in the independent Boston Lung Cancer Study. Individuals classified as having developed CAC according to one or more features at relapse encompassing loss of adipose or muscle tissue, or body mass index-adjusted weight loss were found to have distinct tumor genomic and transcriptomic profiles compared with individuals who did not develop such features. Primary non-small cell lung cancers from individuals who developed CAC were characterized by enrichment of inflammatory signaling and epithelial–mesenchymal transitional pathways, and differentially expressed genes upregulated in these tumors included cancer-testis antigen MAGEA6 and matrix metalloproteinases, such as ADAMTS3. In an exploratory proteomic analysis of circulating putative mediators of cachexia performed in a subset of 110 individuals from TRACERx, a significant association between circulating GDF15 and loss of body weight, skeletal muscle and adipose tissue was identified at relapse, supporting the potential therapeutic relevance of targeting GDF15 in the management of CAC

    Genomic–transcriptomic evolution in lung cancer and metastasis

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    Intratumour heterogeneity (ITH) fuels lung cancer evolution, which leads to immune evasion and resistance to therapy. Here, using paired whole-exome and RNA sequencing data, we investigate intratumour transcriptomic diversity in 354 non-small cell lung cancer tumours from 347 out of the first 421 patients prospectively recruited into the TRACERx study. Analyses of 947 tumour regions, representing both primary and metastatic disease, alongside 96 tumour-adjacent normal tissue samples implicate the transcriptome as a major source of phenotypic variation. Gene expression levels and ITH relate to patterns of positive and negative selection during tumour evolution. We observe frequent copy number-independent allele-specific expression that is linked to epigenomic dysfunction. Allele-specific expression can also result in genomic–transcriptomic parallel evolution, which converges on cancer gene disruption. We extract signatures of RNA single-base substitutions and link their aetiology to the activity of the RNA-editing enzymes ADAR and APOBEC3A, thereby revealing otherwise undetected ongoing APOBEC activity in tumours. Characterizing the transcriptomes of primary–metastatic tumour pairs, we combine multiple machine-learning approaches that leverage genomic and transcriptomic variables to link metastasis-seeding potential to the evolutionary context of mutations and increased proliferation within primary tumour regions. These results highlight the interplay between the genome and transcriptome in influencing ITH, lung cancer evolution and metastasis

    Tracking early lung cancer metastatic dissemination in TRACERx using ctDNA

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    Circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) can be used to detect and profile residual tumour cells persisting after curative intent therapy1. The study of large patient cohorts incorporating longitudinal plasma sampling and extended follow-up is required to determine the role of ctDNA as a phylogenetic biomarker of relapse in early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Here we developed ctDNA methods tracking a median of 200 mutations identified in resected NSCLC tissue across 1,069 plasma samples collected from 197 patients enrolled in the TRACERx study2. A lack of preoperative ctDNA detection distinguished biologically indolent lung adenocarcinoma with good clinical outcome. Postoperative plasma analyses were interpreted within the context of standard-of-care radiological surveillance and administration of cytotoxic adjuvant therapy. Landmark analyses of plasma samples collected within 120 days after surgery revealed ctDNA detection in 25% of patients, including 49% of all patients who experienced clinical relapse; 3 to 6 monthly ctDNA surveillance identified impending disease relapse in an additional 20% of landmark-negative patients. We developed a bioinformatic tool (ECLIPSE) for non-invasive tracking of subclonal architecture at low ctDNA levels. ECLIPSE identified patients with polyclonal metastatic dissemination, which was associated with a poor clinical outcome. By measuring subclone cancer cell fractions in preoperative plasma, we found that subclones seeding future metastases were significantly more expanded compared with non-metastatic subclones. Our findings will support (neo)adjuvant trial advances and provide insights into the process of metastatic dissemination using low-ctDNA-level liquid biopsy

    Body composition and lung cancer-associated cachexia in TRACERx

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    Cancer-associated cachexia (CAC) is a major contributor to morbidity and mortality in individuals with non-small cell lung cancer. Key features of CAC include alterations in body composition and body weight. Here, we explore the association between body composition and body weight with survival and delineate potential biological processes and mediators that contribute to the development of CAC. Computed tomography-based body composition analysis of 651 individuals in the TRACERx (TRAcking non-small cell lung Cancer Evolution through therapy (Rx)) study suggested that individuals in the bottom 20th percentile of the distribution of skeletal muscle or adipose tissue area at the time of lung cancer diagnosis, had significantly shorter lung cancer-specific survival and overall survival. This finding was validated in 420 individuals in the independent Boston Lung Cancer Study. Individuals classified as having developed CAC according to one or more features at relapse encompassing loss of adipose or muscle tissue, or body mass index-adjusted weight loss were found to have distinct tumor genomic and transcriptomic profiles compared with individuals who did not develop such features. Primary non-small cell lung cancers from individuals who developed CAC were characterized by enrichment of inflammatory signaling and epithelial–mesenchymal transitional pathways, and differentially expressed genes upregulated in these tumors included cancer-testis antigen MAGEA6 and matrix metalloproteinases, such as ADAMTS3. In an exploratory proteomic analysis of circulating putative mediators of cachexia performed in a subset of 110 individuals from TRACERx, a significant association between circulating GDF15 and loss of body weight, skeletal muscle and adipose tissue was identified at relapse, supporting the potential therapeutic relevance of targeting GDF15 in the management of CAC

    Antibodies against endogenous retroviruses promote lung cancer immunotherapy

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    B cells are frequently found in the margins of solid tumours as organized follicles in ectopic lymphoid organs called tertiary lymphoid structures (TLS)1,2. Although TLS have been found to correlate with improved patient survival and response to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB), the underlying mechanisms of this association remain elusive1,2. Here we investigate lung-resident B cell responses in patients from the TRACERx 421 (Tracking Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Evolution Through Therapy) and other lung cancer cohorts, and in a recently established immunogenic mouse model for lung adenocarcinoma3. We find that both human and mouse lung adenocarcinomas elicit local germinal centre responses and tumour-binding antibodies, and further identify endogenous retrovirus (ERV) envelope glycoproteins as a dominant anti-tumour antibody target. ERV-targeting B cell responses are amplified by ICB in both humans and mice, and by targeted inhibition of KRAS(G12C) in the mouse model. ERV-reactive antibodies exert anti-tumour activity that extends survival in the mouse model, and ERV expression predicts the outcome of ICB in human lung adenocarcinoma. Finally, we find that effective immunotherapy in the mouse model requires CXCL13-dependent TLS formation. Conversely, therapeutic CXCL13 treatment potentiates anti-tumour immunity and synergizes with ICB. Our findings provide a possible mechanistic basis for the association of TLS with immunotherapy response

    Rare variants in CAPN2 increase risk for isolated hypoplastic left heart syndrome

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    Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is a severe congenital heart defect (CHD) characterized by hypoplasia of the left ventricle and aorta along with stenosis or atresia of the aortic and mitral valves. HLHS represents only ∌4%–8% of all CHDs but accounts for ∌25% of deaths. HLHS is an isolated defect (i.e., iHLHS) in 70% of families, the vast majority of which are simplex. Despite intense investigation, the genetic basis of iHLHS remains largely unknown. We performed exome sequencing on 331 families with iHLHS aggregated from four independent cohorts. A Mendelian-model-based analysis demonstrated that iHLHS was not due to single, large-effect alleles in genes previously reported to underlie iHLHS or CHD in >90% of families in this cohort. Gene-based association testing identified increased risk for iHLHS associated with variation in CAPN2 (p = 1.8 × 10−5), encoding a protein involved in functional adhesion. Functional validation studies in a vertebrate animal model (Xenopus laevis) confirmed CAPN2 is essential for cardiac ventricle morphogenesis and that in vivo loss of calpain function causes hypoplastic ventricle phenotypes and suggest that human CAPN2707C>T and CAPN21112C>T variants, each found in multiple individuals with iHLHS, are hypomorphic alleles. Collectively, our findings show that iHLHS is typically not a Mendelian condition, demonstrate that CAPN2 variants increase risk of iHLHS, and identify a novel pathway involved in HLHS pathogenesis.Peer reviewe
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