Identification of osteosarcoma driver genes by integrative analysis of copy number and gene expression data

Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2012 Jul;51(7):696-706. doi: 10.1002/gcc.21956. Epub 2012 Mar 27.


High-grade osteosarcoma is a tumor with a complex genomic profile, occurring primarily in adolescents with a second peak at middle age. The extensive genomic alterations obscure the identification of genes driving tumorigenesis during osteosarcoma development. To identify such driver genes, we integrated DNA copy number profiles (Affymetrix SNP 6.0) of 32 diagnostic biopsies with 84 expression profiles (Illumina Human-6 v2.0) of high-grade osteosarcoma as compared with its putative progenitor cells, i.e., mesenchymal stem cells (n = 12) or osteoblasts (n = 3). In addition, we performed paired analyses between copy number and expression profiles of a subset of 29 patients for which both DNA and mRNA profiles were available. Integrative analyses were performed in Nexus Copy Number software and statistical language R. Paired analyses were performed on all probes detecting significantly differentially expressed genes in corresponding LIMMA analyses. For both nonpaired and paired analyses, copy number aberration frequency was set to >35%. Nonpaired and paired integrative analyses resulted in 45 and 101 genes, respectively, which were present in both analyses using different control sets. Paired analyses detected >90% of all genes found with the corresponding nonpaired analyses. Remarkably, approximately twice as many genes as found in the corresponding nonpaired analyses were detected. Affected genes were intersected with differentially expressed genes in osteosarcoma cell lines, resulting in 31 new osteosarcoma driver genes. Cell division related genes, such as MCM4 and LATS2, were overrepresented and genomic instability was predictive for metastasis-free survival, suggesting that deregulation of the cell cycle is a driver of osteosarcomagenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics*
  • Biopsy
  • Bone Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Gene Dosage*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Genomic Instability
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / pathology
  • Osteoblasts / pathology
  • Osteosarcoma / genetics*
  • Osteosarcoma / pathology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor