High-definition reconstruction of clonal composition in cancer

Cell Rep. 2014 Jun 12;7(5):1740-1752. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.04.055. Epub 2014 May 29.


The extensive genetic heterogeneity of cancers can greatly affect therapy success due to the existence of subclonal mutations conferring resistance. However, the characterization of subclones in mixed-cell populations is computationally challenging due to the short length of sequence reads that are generated by current sequencing technologies. Here, we report cloneHD, a probabilistic algorithm for the performance of subclone reconstruction from data generated by high-throughput DNA sequencing: read depth, B-allele counts at germline heterozygous loci, and somatic mutation counts. The algorithm can exploit the added information present in correlated longitudinal or multiregion samples and takes into account correlations along genomes caused by events such as copy-number changes. We apply cloneHD to two case studies: a breast cancer sample and time-resolved samples of chronic lymphocytic leukemia, where we demonstrate that monitoring the response of a patient to therapy regimens is feasible. Our work provides new opportunities for tracking cancer development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Clonal Evolution*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Lymphoid / genetics*
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Mutation