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Expanding discovery from cancer genomes by integrating protein network analyses with in vivo tumorigenesis assays

By Heiko Horn, Michael S Lawrence, Candace R. Chouinard, Yashaswi Shrestha, Jessica Xin Hu, Elizabeth Worstell, Emily Shea, Nina Ilic, Eejung Kim, Atanas Kamburov, Alireza Kashani, William C. Hahn, Joshua D. Campbell, Jesse S. Boehm, Gad A. Getz, Kasper Lage

Posted 19 Jun 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/151977 (published DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.4514)

Approaches that integrate molecular network information and tumor genome data could complement gene-based statistical tests to identify likely new cancer genes, but are challenging to validate at scale and their predictive value remains unclear. We developed a robust statistic (NetSig) that integrates protein interaction networks and data from 4,742 tumor exomes and used it to accurately classify known driver genes in 60% of tested tumor types and to predict 62 new candidates. We designed a quantitative experimental framework to compare the in vivo tumorigenic potential of NetSig candidates, known oncogenes and random genes in mice showing that NetSig candidates induce tumors at rates comparable to known oncogenes and 10-fold higher than random genes. By reanalyzing nine tumor-inducing NetSig candidates in 242 patients with oncogene-negative lung adenocarcinomas, we find that two (AKT2 and TFDP2) are significantly amplified. Overall, we illustrate a scalable integrated computational and experimental workflow to expand discovery from cancer genomes.

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