Tumor profiling of DNA alterations, i.e. gene point mutations, somatic copy number aberrations (CNAs) and structural variants (SVs), improves insight into the molecular pathology of cancer and clinical outcome. Here, associations between genomic aberrations and disease recurrence in stage II and III colon cancers were investigated. A series of 114 stage II and III microsatellite stable colon cancer samples were analyzed by high-resolution array-comparative genomic hybridization (array-CGH) to detect CNAs and CNA-associated chromosomal breakpoints (SVs). For 60 of these samples mutation status of APC, TP53, KRAS, PIK3CA, FBXW7, SMAD4, BRAF and NRAS was determined using targeted massive parallel sequencing. Loss of chromosome 18q12.1-18q12.2 occurred more frequently in tumors that relapsed than in relapse-free tumors (p < 0.001; FDR = 0.13). In total, 267 genes were recurrently affected by SVs (FDR < 0.1). CNAs and SVs were not associated with disease-free survival (DFS). Mutations in APC and TP53 were associated with increased CNAs. APC mutations were associated with poor prognosis in (5-fluorouracil treated) stage III colon cancers (p = 0.005; HR = 4.1), an effect that was further enhanced by mutations in MAPK pathway (KRAS, NRAS, BRAF) genes. We conclude that among multiple genomic alterations in CRC, strongest associations with clinical outcome were observed for common mutations in APC.
Keywords: APC; colon cancer; copy number aberrations; disease recurrence; structural variants.