Mutation signatures including APOBEC in cancer cell lines

Matthew C. Jarvis, Diako Ebrahimi, Nuri A. Temiz, Reuben S. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: Multiple endogenous and exogenous sources of DNA damage contribute to the overall mutation burden in cancer, with distinct and overlapping combinations contributing to each cancer type. Many mutation sources result in characteristic mutation signatures, which can be deduced from tumor genomic DNA sequences. Examples include spontaneous hydrolytic deamination of methyl-cytosine bases in CG motifs (AGEING signature) and C-to-T and C-to-G mutations in 5'-TC(A/T) motifs (APOBEC signature). Methods: The deconstructSigs R package was used to analyze single-base substitution mutation signatures in more than 1000 cancer cell lines. Two additional approaches were used to analyze the APOBEC mutation signature. Results: Most cell lines show evidence for multiple mutation signatures. For instance, the AGEING signature, which is the largest source of mutation in most primary tumors, predominates in the majority of cancer cell lines. The APOBEC mutation signature is enriched in cancer cell lines from breast, lung, head/neck, bladder, and cervical cancers, where this signature also comprises a large fraction of all mutations. Conclusions: The single-base substitution mutation signatures of cancer cell lines often reflect those of the original tumors from which they are derived. Cancer cell lines with enrichments for distinct mutation signatures such as APOBEC have the potential to become model systems for fundamental research on the underlying mechanisms and for advancing clinical strategies to exploit these processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberpky002
JournalJNCI Cancer Spectrum
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

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© The Author(s) 2018.


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