Multi-factor data normalization enables the detection of copy number aberrations in amplicon sequencing data

Bioinformatics. 2014 Dec 15;30(24):3443-50. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btu436. Epub 2014 Jul 12.


Motivation: Because of its low cost, amplicon sequencing, also known as ultra-deep targeted sequencing, is now becoming widely used in oncology for detection of actionable mutations, i.e. mutations influencing cell sensitivity to targeted therapies. Amplicon sequencing is based on the polymerase chain reaction amplification of the regions of interest, a process that considerably distorts the information on copy numbers initially present in the tumor DNA. Therefore, additional experiments such as single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) or comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) arrays often complement amplicon sequencing in clinics to identify copy number status of genes whose amplification or deletion has direct consequences on the efficacy of a particular cancer treatment. So far, there has been no proven method to extract the information on gene copy number aberrations based solely on amplicon sequencing.

Results: Here we present ONCOCNV, a method that includes a multifactor normalization and annotation technique enabling the detection of large copy number changes from amplicon sequencing data. We validated our approach on high and low amplicon density datasets and demonstrated that ONCOCNV can achieve a precision comparable with that of array CGH techniques in detecting copy number aberrations. Thus, ONCOCNV applied on amplicon sequencing data would make the use of additional array CGH or SNP array experiments unnecessary.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Comparative Genomic Hybridization
  • DNA, Neoplasm / chemistry
  • Exome
  • Female
  • Gene Dosage*
  • Genes, Neoplasm*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods*


  • DNA, Neoplasm