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Papathanasiou, S., et al. Whole chromosome loss and genomic instability in mouse embryos after CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing. Nat Commun 12, 1, 5855 (2021).Abstract
Karyotype alterations have emerged as on-target complications from CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing. However, the events that lead to these karyotypic changes in embryos after Cas9-treatment remain unknown. Here, using imaging and single-cell genome sequencing of 8-cell stage embryos, we track both spontaneous and Cas9-induced karyotype aberrations through the first three divisions of embryonic development. We observe the generation of abnormal structures of the nucleus that arise as a consequence of errors in mitosis, including micronuclei and chromosome bridges, and determine their contribution to common karyotype aberrations including whole chromosome loss that has been recently reported after editing in embryos. Together, these data demonstrate that Cas9-mediated germline genome editing can lead to unwanted on-target side effects, including major chromosome structural alterations that can be propagated over several divisions of embryonic development.
Konstantinopoulos, P.A., et al. A Replication stress biomarker is associated with response to gemcitabine versus combined gemcitabine and ATR inhibitor therapy in ovarian cancer. Nat Commun 12, 1, 5574 (2021).Abstract
In a trial of patients with high grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC), addition of the ATR inhibitor berzosertib to gemcitabine improved progression free survival (PFS) compared to gemcitabine alone but biomarkers predictive of treatment are lacking. Here we report a candidate biomarker of response to gemcitabine versus combined gemcitabine and ATR inhibitor therapy in HGSOC ovarian cancer. Patients with replication stress (RS)-high tumors (n = 27), defined as harboring at least one genomic RS alteration related to loss of RB pathway regulation and/or oncogene-induced replication stress achieve significantly prolonged PFS (HR = 0.38, 90% CI, 0.17-0.86) on gemcitabine monotherapy compared to those with tumors without such alterations (defined as RS-low, n = 30). However, addition of berzosertib to gemcitabine benefits only patients with RS-low tumors (gemcitabine/berzosertib HR 0.34, 90% CI, 0.13-0.86) and not patients with RS-high tumors (HR 1.11, 90% CI, 0.47-2.62). Our findings support the notion that the exacerbation of RS by gemcitabine monotherapy is adequate for lethality in RS-high tumors. Conversely, for RS-low tumors addition of berzosertib-mediated ATR inhibition to gemcitabine is necessary for lethality to occur. Independent prospective validation of this biomarker is required.
Keenan, T.E., et al. Molecular correlates of response to eribulin and pembrolizumab in hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer. Nat Commun 12, 1, 5563 (2021).Abstract
Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have minimal therapeutic effect in hormone receptor-positive (HR+ ) breast cancer. We present final overall survival (OS) results (n = 88) from a randomized phase 2 trial of eribulin ± pembrolizumab for patients with metastatic HR+ breast cancer, computationally dissect genomic and/or transcriptomic data from pre-treatment tumors (n = 52) for molecular associations with efficacy, and identify cytokine changes differentiating response and ICI-related toxicity (n = 58). Despite no improvement in OS with combination therapy (hazard ratio 0.95, 95% CI 0.59-1.55, p = 0.84), immune infiltration and antigen presentation distinguished responding tumors, while tumor heterogeneity and estrogen signaling independently associated with resistance. Moreover, patients with ICI-related toxicity had lower levels of immunoregulatory cytokines. Broadly, we establish a framework for ICI response in HR+ breast cancer that warrants diagnostic and therapeutic validation. Registration: NCT03051659.
Bergholtz, H., et al. Best Practices for Spatial Profiling for Breast Cancer Research with the GeoMx Digital Spatial Profiler. Cancers (Basel) 13, 17, (2021).Abstract
Breast cancer is a heterogenous disease with variability in tumor cells and in the surrounding tumor microenvironment (TME). Understanding the molecular diversity in breast cancer is critical for improving prediction of therapeutic response and prognostication. High-plex spatial profiling of tumors enables characterization of heterogeneity in the breast TME, which can holistically illuminate the biology of tumor growth, dissemination and, ultimately, response to therapy. The GeoMx Digital Spatial Profiler (DSP) enables researchers to spatially resolve and quantify proteins and RNA transcripts from tissue sections. The platform is compatible with both formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded and frozen tissues. RNA profiling was developed at the whole transcriptome level for human and mouse samples and protein profiling of 100-plex for human samples. Tissue can be optically segmented for analysis of regions of interest or cell populations to study biology-directed tissue characterization. The GeoMx Breast Cancer Consortium (GBCC) is composed of breast cancer researchers who are developing innovative approaches for spatial profiling to accelerate biomarker discovery. Here, the GBCC presents best practices for GeoMx profiling to promote the collection of high-quality data, optimization of data analysis and integration of datasets to advance collaboration and meta-analyses. Although the capabilities of the platform are presented in the context of breast cancer research, they can be generalized to a variety of other tumor types that are characterized by high heterogeneity.
Coates, J.T., et al. Parallel Genomic Alterations of Antigen and Payload Targets Mediate Polyclonal Acquired Clinical Resistance to Sacituzumab Govitecan in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. Cancer Discov 11, 10, 2436-2445 (2021).Abstract
Sacituzumab govitecan (SG), the first antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) approved for triple-negative breast cancer, incorporates the anti-TROP2 antibody hRS7 conjugated to a topoisomerase-1 (TOP1) inhibitor payload. We sought to identify mechanisms of SG resistance through RNA and whole-exome sequencing of pretreatment and postprogression specimens. One patient exhibiting de novo progression lacked TROP2 expression, in contrast to robust TROP2 expression and focal genomic amplification of TACSTD2/TROP2 observed in a patient with a deep, prolonged response to SG. Analysis of acquired genomic resistance in this case revealed one phylogenetic branch harboring a canonical TOP1 E418K resistance mutation and subsequent frameshift TOP1 mutation, whereas a distinct branch exhibited a novel TACSTD2/TROP2 T256R missense mutation. Reconstitution experiments demonstrated that TROP2T256R confers SG resistance via defective plasma membrane localization and reduced cell-surface binding by hRS7. These findings highlight parallel genomic alterations in both antibody and payload targets associated with resistance to SG. SIGNIFICANCE: These findings underscore TROP2 as a response determinant and reveal acquired SG resistance mechanisms involving the direct antibody and drug payload targets in distinct metastatic subclones of an individual patient. This study highlights the specificity of SG and illustrates how such mechanisms will inform therapeutic strategies to overcome ADC resistance.This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 2355.