Genomic copy number predicts oesophageal cancer years before transformation
Killcoyne S., Gregson E., Wedge DC., Woodcock DJ., Eldridge M., de la Rue R., Miremadi A., Abbas S., Blasko A., Januszewicz W., Varanou Jenkins A., Gerstung M., Fitzgerald RC.
SummaryCancer arises through a process of somatic evolution and recent studies have shown that aneuploidies and driver gene mutations precede cancer diagnosis by several years to decades1–4 Here, we address the question whether such genomic signals can be used for early detection and pre-emptive cancer treatment. To this end we study Barrett’s oesophagus, a genomic copy number driven neoplastic precursor lesion to oesophageal adenocarcinoma5. We use shallow whole genome sequencing of 777 biopsies sampled from 88 patients in surveillance for Barrett’s oesophagus over a period of up to 15 years. These data show that genomic signals exist that distinguish progressive from stable disease with an AUC of 0.87 and a sensitivity of 50% even ten years prior to histopathological disease transformation. These finding are validated on two independent cohorts of 75 and 248 patients. Compared against current patient management guidelines genomic risk classification enables earlier treatment for high risk patients as well as reduction of unnecessary treatment and monitoring for patients who are unlikely to develop cancer.