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Ennet: construction of potential cancer-driving networks based on somatic enhancer mutations only

By Ya Cui, Yiwei Niu, Xueyi Teng, Dan Wang, Huaxia Luo, Peng Zhang, Wei Wu, Shunmin He, Jianjun Luo, Runsheng Chen

Posted 08 Nov 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/216226

Whole genome sequencing technology has facilitated the discovery of a large number of somatic mutations in enhancers (SMEs), whereas the utility of SMEs in tumorigenesis has not been fully explored. Here we present Ennet, a method to comprehensively investigate SMEs enriched networks (SME-networks) in cancer by integrating SMEs, enhancer-gene interactions and gene-gene interactions. Using Ennet, we performed a pan-cancer analysis in 2004 samples from 8 cancer types and found many well-known cancer drivers were involved in the SME-networks, including ESR1, SMAD3, MYC, EGFR, BCL2 and PAX5. Meanwhile, Ennet also identified many new networks with less characterization but have potentially important roles in cancer, including a large SME-network in medulloblastoma (MB), which contains genes enriched in the glutamate receptor and neural development pathways. Interestingly, SME-networks are specific across cancer types, and the vast majority of the genes identified by Ennet have few mutations in gene bodies. Collectively, our work suggests that using enhancer-only somatic mutations can be an effective way to discover potential cancer-driving networks. Ennet provides a new perspective to explore new mechanisms for tumor progression from SMEs.

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