Palimpsest: an R package for studying mutational and structural variant signatures along clonal evolution in cancer

Bioinformatics. 2018 Oct 1;34(19):3380-3381. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/bty388.


Summary: Cancer genomes are altered by various mutational processes and, like palimpsests, bear the signatures of these different processes. The Palimpsest R package provides a complete workflow for the characterization and visualization of mutational signatures and their evolution along tumor development. The package covers a wide range of functions for extracting both base substitution and structural variant signatures, inferring the clonality of each alteration and analyzing the evolution of mutational processes between early clonal and late subclonal events. Palimpsest also estimates the probability of each mutation being due to each process to predict the mechanisms at the origin of driver events. Palimpsest is an easy-to-use toolset for reconstructing the natural history of a tumor using whole exome or whole genome sequencing data.

Availability and implementation: Palimpsest is freely available at

Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Exome
  • Humans
  • Mutation*
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Software