Pan-cancer analyses of tumor genomes reveal mutational signatures characteristic of particular etiologic factors. The signatures are extracted mathematically from mixed patterns typically observed by tumor sequencing. However, the components of signatures originating from complex carcinogen mixtures have not been studied in detail. Lung, head and neck and liver tumors of tobacco smokers exhibit COSMIC signature 4 marked by predominant G>N mutations, involving mainly G:C>T:A transversions with transcription strand bias, consistent with the mutagenic effects of benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P). Additionally, A>N mutations (strand-biased A:T>T:A transversions and A:T>G:C transitions) are also prominently present, yet their origins are less understood. By using exposure-coupled clonal immortalization of human and mouse primary cells and deep sequencing, we were able to dissect ‘clean' mutational signatures of tobacco smoke carcinogens B[a]P and glycidamide (GA), a key reactive metabolite of acrylamide (ACR). Whole-genome sequencing of multiple clones derived from primary B[a]P-treated human mammary epithelial cells identified a robust mutational signature marked by strand-biased G>N mutations and increased GG>TT dinucleotides, while no apparent enrichment of A:T>T:A mutations was observed. Next, in ACR and GA-treated primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts, we established by the LC-MS/MS DNA adduct analysis that ACR exerts its mutagenic effects exclusively via GA. We then extracted from 15 treated clones the exome-scale mutational signature of GA, marked by predominant A:T>T:A transversions followed by A:T>G:C transitions and G:C>T:A transversions, all showing transcription strand bias. Similarity analysis involving known primary-cancer and experimental mutational signatures indicated that the GA mutational signature was novel. A more in-depth comparison with mutation patterns from lung adenocarcinomas of heavy smokers revealed that the GA signature, including its strand bias features, matched closely with and may thus account for the A>N mutation component of the tobacco smoking-derived signature 4. Thus, mutational signatures generated in controlled experimental settings may explain particular sub-features of cancer signatures arising from co-exposures to multiple carcinogens. Furthermore, the use of innovative in vitro systems, characterized by biological barrier bypass to mimic early steps of cell transformation, can provide revealing insights into the molecular links between mutagenesis and carcinogenesis. Funding: INCa-INSERM Plan Cancer 2015; NIH/NIEHS 1R03ES025023-01A1

Citation Format: Manuraj Pandey, Maria Zhivagui, Mona I. Churchwell, Alvin W. Ng, Liacine Bouaoun, Vincent Cahais, Martha R. Stampfer, Magali Olivier, Zdenko Herceg, Ewy Mathé, Steven G. Rozen, Frederick A. Beland, Michael Korenjak, Jiri Zavadil. Deciphering components of mutational signatures arising from carcinogen co-exposures: A genome-scale experimental approach [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2018; 2018 Apr 14-18; Chicago, IL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2018;78(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 3088.