Identifying and Targeting Sporadic Oncogenic Genetic Aberrations in Mouse Models of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Cancer Discov. 2018 Mar;8(3):354-369. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-17-0679. Epub 2017 Dec 4.


Triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC) are genetically characterized by aberrations in TP53 and a low rate of activating point mutations in common oncogenes, rendering it challenging in applying targeted therapies. We performed whole-exome sequencing (WES) and RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) to identify somatic genetic alterations in mouse models of TNBCs driven by loss of Trp53 alone or in combination with Brca1 Amplifications or translocations that resulted in elevated oncoprotein expression or oncoprotein-containing fusions, respectively, as well as frameshift mutations of tumor suppressors were identified in approximately 50% of the tumors evaluated. Although the spectrum of sporadic genetic alterations was diverse, the majority had in common the ability to activate the MAPK/PI3K pathways. Importantly, we demonstrated that approved or experimental drugs efficiently induce tumor regression specifically in tumors harboring somatic aberrations of the drug target. Our study suggests that the combination of WES and RNA-seq on human TNBC will lead to the identification of actionable therapeutic targets for precision medicine-guided TNBC treatment.Significance: Using combined WES and RNA-seq analyses, we identified sporadic oncogenic events in TNBC mouse models that share the capacity to activate the MAPK and/or PI3K pathways. Our data support a treatment tailored to the genetics of individual tumors that parallels the approaches being investigated in the ongoing NCI-MATCH, My Pathway Trial, and ESMART clinical trials. Cancer Discov; 8(3); 354-69. ©2017 AACR.See related commentary by Natrajan et al., p. 272See related article by Matissek et al., p. 336This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 253.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • BRCA1 Protein
  • Exome Sequencing
  • Female
  • Gene Fusion
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / genetics
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / genetics*
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Mutation*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / genetics
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-raf / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-raf / metabolism
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 2 / genetics
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics


  • BRCA1 Protein
  • Brca1 protein, mouse
  • Trp53 protein, mouse
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Fgfr2 protein, mouse
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 2
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-raf