Common fusion transcripts identified in colorectal cancer cell lines by high-throughput RNA sequencing

Transl Oncol. 2013 Oct 1;6(5):546-53. doi: 10.1593/tlo.13457. eCollection 2013.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer disease in the Western world, and about 40% of the patients die from this disease. The cancer cells are commonly genetically unstable, but only a few low-frequency recurrent fusion genes have so far been reported for this disease. In this study, we present a thorough search for novel fusion transcripts in CRC using high-throughput RNA sequencing. From altogether 220 million paired-end sequence reads from seven CRC cell lines, we identified 3391 candidate fused transcripts. By stringent requirements, we nominated 11 candidate fusion transcripts for further experimental validation, of which 10 were positive by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and Sanger sequencing. Six were intrachromosomal fusion transcripts, and interestingly, three of these, AKAP13-PDE8A, COMMD10-AP3S1, and CTB-35F21.1-PSD2, were present in, respectively, 18, 18, and 20 of 21 analyzed cell lines and in, respectively, 18, 61, and 48 (17%-58%) of 106 primary cancer tissues. These three fusion transcripts were also detected in 2 to 4 of 14 normal colonic mucosa samples (14%-28%). Whole-genome sequencing identified a specific genomic breakpoint in COMMD10-AP3S1 and further indicates that both the COMMD10-AP3S1 and AKAP13-PDE8A fusion transcripts are due to genomic duplications in specific cell lines. In conclusion, we have identified AKAP13-PDE8A, COMMD10-AP3S1, and CTB-35F21.1-PSD2 as novel intrachromosomal fusion transcripts and the most highly recurring chimeric transcripts described for CRC to date. The functional and clinical relevance of these chimeric RNA molecules remains to be elucidated.