Recurrent gene mutations and fusions in cancer patients are likely to be associated with cancer progression or recurrence by Vogelstein et al. (Science (80-) 340, 1546-1558 (2013)). In this study, we investigated gene mutations and fusions that recurrently occurred in early-stage cancer patients with stage I non-small-cell cancer (NSCLC). Targeted exome sequencing was performed to profile the variants and confirmed their fidelity at the gene and pathway levels through comparison with data for stage I lung cancer patients, which was obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Next, we identified prognostic gene mutations (ATR, ERBB3, KDR, and MUC6), fusions (GOPC-ROS1 and NTRK1-SH2D2A), and VEGF signaling pathway associated with cancer recurrence. To infer the functional implication of the recurrent variants in early-stage cancers, the extent of their selection pattern was investigated, and they were shown to be under positive selection, implying a selective advantage for cancer progression. Specifically, high selection scores were observed in the variants with significantly high risks for recurrence. Taken together, the results of this study enabled us to identify recurrent gene mutations and fusions in a stage I NSCLC cohort and to demonstrate positive selection, which had implications regarding cancer recurrence.
© 2021. The Author(s).