Integrated analysis of optical mapping and whole-genome sequencing reveals intratumoral genetic heterogeneity in metastatic lung squamous cell carcinoma

Transl Lung Cancer Res. 2020 Jun;9(3):670-681. doi: 10.21037/tlcr-19-401.


Background: Intratumoral heterogeneity is a crucial factor to the outcome of patients and resistance to therapies, in which structural variants play an indispensable but undiscovered role.

Methods: We performed an integrated analysis of optical mapping and whole-genome sequencing on a primary tumor (PT) and matched metastases including lymph node metastasis (LNM) and tumor thrombus in the pulmonary vein (TPV). Single nucleotide variants, indels and structural variants were analyzed to reveal intratumoral genetic heterogeneity among tumor cells in different sites.

Results: Our results demonstrated there were less nonsynonymous somatic variants shared with PT in LNM than in TPV, while there were more structural variants shared with PT in LNM than in TPV. More private variants and its affected genes associated with tumorigenesis and progression were identified in TPV than in LNM. It should be noticed that optical mapping detected an average of 77.1% (74.5-78.5%) large structural variants (>5,000 bp) not detected by whole-genome sequencing and identified several structural variants private to metastases.

Conclusions: Our study does demonstrate structural variants, especially large structural variants play a crucial role in intratumoral genetic heterogeneity and optical mapping could make up for the deficiency of whole-genome sequencing to identify structural variants.

Keywords: Heterogeneity; lung squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC); metastasis; optical mapping; structural variants.