Mutation landscape and intra-tumor heterogeneity of two MANECs of the esophagus revealed by multi-region sequencing

Oncotarget. 2017 Jun 27;8(41):69610-69621. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.18678. eCollection 2017 Sep 19.


Mixed adenoneuroendocrine carcinoma (MANEC) in the esophagus is an infrequent but highly malignant cancer with few known genomic alterations. We conducted whole-exome sequencing and whole-genome SNP genotyping for 4-6 tumor subregions and 5-6 adjacent normal tissue sites and 1-3 lymph node metastases in two esophageal MANECs to detect somatic mutations and copy number alterations, and to explore their spatial heterogeneity and underlying clonal structure. TP53 mutation, RB1 deletion or LOH, and PIK3CA, PTEN, KRAS, SOX2, DVL3, TP63 amplification appeared in all regions in both tumors. Mutations falling in known cancer genes tended to show higher variant allele frequencies than those not falling in these genes in at least one of the cases. Phylogenetic analyses of the samples and underlying subclones suggested extensive migration across different tumor regions and from some regions to the lymph nodes. Lymph node metastases appeared to have been seeded by both early founder cells as well as subsequent, locally emerging daughter clones. A phenotypically normal tissue site carried most of the mutations found in neighboring tumor samples, implying field cancerization. Understanding such complex genetic heterogeneity within each patient will be important for guiding clinical decisions.

Keywords: esophageal cancer; intra-tumor heterogeneity; mixed adenoneuroendocrine carcinoma (MANEC); subclone evolution; whole-exome sequencing.