Human breast tumors have been shown to exhibit extensive inter- and intra-tumor heterogeneity. While recent advances in genomic technologies have allowed us to deconvolute this heterogeneity, few studies have addressed the functional consequences of diversity within tumor populations. Here, we identified an index case for which we have derived a patient-derived xenograft (PDX) as a renewable tissue source to identify subpopulations and perform functional assays. On pathology, the tumor was an invasive ductal carcinoma which was hormone receptor-negative, HER2-positive (IHC 2+, FISH average HER2/CEP17 2.4), though the FISH signal was noted to be heterogeneous. On gene expression profiling of bulk samples, the primary tumor and PDX were classified as basal-like. We performed single cell RNA and exome sequencing of the PDX to identify population structure. Using a single sample predictor of breast cancer subtype, we have identified single basal-like, HER2-enriched and normal-like cells co-existing within the PDX tumor, a finding replicated in several independent experiments. Genes differentially expressed between these subpopulations are involved in proliferation and differentiation. One population was characterized by high MYC and the other high EGFR/KRT14. These findings were validated using immunohistochemistry on PDX and primary tumor material. Further functional experiments showed that that EGFR subpopulation has stem cell character istics and forms metastasis in the animal model. Microfluidic whole genome amplification followed by whole exome capture of 81
single cells, along with exome sequencing of the germline, primary and post treatment tumor and whole PDX showed that BRCA1 and TP53 are mutated in all single cells, as well as a number of sub-clonal mutations that are being investigated further. Loss of heterozygocity was observed in 16 TCGA cancer driver genes and novel mutations in 7 known cancer driver genes. Careful comparison of the exome sequencing data allowed the association of driver gene mutation prevalence with tumor progression. These findings are important in our understanding the functional consequences of intra-tumor heterogeneity with respect to clinically important phenotypes such as invasion, metastasis and drug-resistance.
Citation Format: Ioannis Ragoussis, Paul Savage, Yu-Chang Wang, Timothee Revil, Dunarel Badescu, Sadiq Saleh, Ernesto Iacucci, Nicolas Bertos, Anie Monast, Attila Omeroglou, Dongmei Zuo, Morag Park. Microfluidic single cell exome-seq and RNA-seq analysis of tumor composition. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2016 Apr 16-20; New Orleans, LA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2016;76(14 Suppl):Abstract nr 2386.