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Genome-Scale Mutational Signatures Of Aflatoxin In Cells, Mice And Human Tumors

By Mi Ni Huang, Willie Yu, Wei Wei Teoh, Maude Ardin, Apinya Jusakul, Alvin Ng, Arnoud Boot, Behnoush Abedi-Ardekani, Stephanie Villar, Swe Swe Myint, Rashidah Othman, Song Ling Poon, Adriana Heguy, Magali Olivier, Monica Hollstein, Patrick Tan, Bin Tean Teh, Kanaga Sabapathy, Jiri Zavadil, Steven G. Rozen

Posted 26 Apr 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/130179 (published DOI: 10.1101/gr.220038.116)

Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is a mutagen and IARC Group 1 carcinogen that causes hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Here we present the first whole genome data on the mutational signatures of AFB1 exposure from a total of > 40,000 mutations in four experimental systems: two different human cell lines, and in liver tumors in wild-type mice and in mice that carried a hepatitis B surface antigen transgene — this to model the multiplicative effects of aflatoxin exposure and hepatitis B in causing HCC. AFB1 mutational signatures from all four experimental systems were remarkably similar. We integrated the experimental mutational signatures with data from newly-sequenced HCCs from Qidong County, China, a region of well-studied aflatoxin exposure. This indicated that COSMIC mutational signature 24, previously hypothesized to stem from aflatoxin exposure, indeed likely represents AFB1 exposure, possibly combined with other exposures. Among published somatic mutation data, we found evidence of AFB1 exposure in 0.7% of HCCs treated in North America, 1% of HCCs from Japan, but 16% of HCCs from Hong Kong. Thus, aflatoxin exposure apparently remains a substantial public health issue in some areas. This aspect of our study exemplifies the promise of future widespread resequencing of tumor genomes in providing new insights into the contribution of mutagenic exposures to cancer incidence.

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